Sat March 22, 2014
The Garden Report

Anxious For The Summer Harvest? For These Veggies You Don't Have To Wait

Broccoli can germinate in colder temperatures.
Credit Chiot's Run / Flickr - Creative Commons

Spring is here and many of us can’t wait to start producing tasty vegetables. Here are a few that can be harvested sooner rather than later.

Tom Throgmorton explains how to care for early spring vegetables.

Veggies in the cabbage family like cauliflower and broccoli are prime, early spring candidates because they are more immune to pests. Salad greens like lettuce and mustard greens are also an early spring garden treat. Start them indoors before transplanting them out into the garden.     

Most spring vegetables germinate when the soil temperature is above 50 degrees. Begin with a shallow tray filled with sterilized soil mix and keep the soil warm and moist. Grow the seedlings in the brightest window or use additional light to keep them compact. 

When the seedlings have four or six leaves, you can bring them outside for short intervals of time with longer exposure each day. In four or five days they should be ready for the garden full time. 

Once they’re hardened off, early spring veggies can withstand below freezing temperatures. Plant these vegetables in the garden or in a portable container. The containerized plants can be moved inside if we get a real cold snap. Keep a cover handy to protect the young plants from potential cold temperatures and heavy spring snows. 

One hurdle with early spring gardening is the frozen water hose. Drain all of the water out of the hose each time it’s used. Since most early spring gardens are small plots, it’s practical to use water from inside the house. Leave the water overnight in plastic milk jugs to reach room temperature. 

Some vegetables are shipped almost 2000 miles from the farm to the dinner table. Early spring is the season to start growing and eating less traveled vegetables.  

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