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7 Seeds to Plant in Spring

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Spring is here and it’s time get excited for planting.

As the weather starts to warm, we get start to think of all the thing we want to plant in the coming year. The difficult thing is waiting for that last frost date. Once your last frost date has past, you can plant almost all of your crops in the garden. For me in zone 6, my last average frost date is May 4.

Even though the last average frost date isn’t until May, the weather is fairly nice through April. During this time there are some plants you can start to get an early spring crop.

What plants can I start in early spring?

You can plant most spring plants from seed starting 2-6 weeks before your last frost date. A few of my favorites are:

  • Arugula - Arugula is one of my favorite lettuces, but really any type of lettuces do great in a colder climate.Arugula takes only 25-40 days to harvest depending on how large you like to harvest your arugula leaves.
  • Spinach and Kale - These are 2 hearty leaves that go well in in spring and fall. You can harvest them at baby stage or let them grow larger.
Kale and spinach on a tea towel.
  • Cilantro - Many herbs need heat to produce, but cilantro does great in cooler weather. It actually bolts when the temperatures rises. You should be able to let it grow until about mid-summer before it bolts. This is a great way to get some early herbs in the garden.
  • Shallots - This is my first year growing shallots and I learned that you can plant them as soon as the soil can be worked. The have a 55-60 day maturity date so these will be a great crop to harvest early summer.
  • Carrots - If you plant carrots early enough you should be able to get a harvest before it gets too hot. Carrots are also a great fall crop because they stay good through fairly cold temperature.
  • Peas - Peas are such a classic spring crop. They should be direct seeded for best results. Make sure to plant them next to a trellis or structure that they can climb up.
a hand filled with fresh pea pods
  • Radishes - One of the easiest vegetables to grow are radishes. I love to grow them because you can start them early and they are one of the first vegetables you get out of your garden.

What temperatures does it need to be for cold tolerant plants?

Each of these plants have different requirements. Some say “as soon as the soil can be worked”. This means that as long as you can plant the seeds and the soil in not frozen, the plants should be fine. Others do well in cooler temperatures but prefer it to be above freezing most of the time.

If you look at the back of the seed packet, it should give you a specific temperature or time to plant that particular seed.

Should I start spring crops from seeds or transplants?

It really depends on when you want to harvest your spring crops and if you want to start them from seed. If you want to start your plants from seed, you can do this indoors early. You just need to have the space to dedicate to starting seeds. If you do this, you should be able to get an earlier crop.

If you don’t have the space but want to start them from seed, I would suggest direct seeding your seeds. Here is another blog post about direct sowing your seeds.

Lastly, if you just want to buy your plants from a garden center, this works too. This way you don’t have to worry about the seeds, but you still get the benefit of an earlier harvest. This option does cost a little bit more and you have a smaller selection of type of crops you can get. If you want to grow common varieties and you don’t want to worry about seed, this is a great option.

Where to Buy Spring Seeds?

You can find seed packets at your local garden center or ever at your grocery store. My favorite place to buy seeds is from Botanical Interest. They have a really wide variety and I always have great luck with their seeds.

When to pull spring crops?

Depending on the crop, some spring plants go well into the summer months. Others, start to bolt or flop when the temperatures rise. I say, as long as the plant looks healthy and it is producing, you are good to keep it there.

I would pull your spring crops once the plant starts to die back. Also, if the fruit it is producing doesn’t taste good. Sometimes the taste of a vegetable can change once the temperatures rise and they get bitter.

Another reason you may want to pull your spring crops is to make space for your summer crops. For me, once I have gotten some production out of a plant and it starts to look a little sad, I will pull it to make room for something new.

Whatever you decide to plant this spring, have fun and enjoy the process!

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