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Arts & Life

Grow An Early Spring Vegetable Garden

Community garden flickr cc Stephanie Dillingham.jpg
Stephanie Dillingham
Creative Commons/Flickr
A community garden plot

The beginning of spring is the beginning of the vegetable garden. 

Most vegetable seed germinates when the soil temperature is above 50 degrees.  Gardeners can warm up the cool spring soil with a simple cold frame or start the seeds inside.

Tom's Suggestions For A Tasty Vegetable Garden


  • Use a shallow tray filled with sterilized soil mix.
  • Follow the directions on the seed packet to sow the seed.
  • Keep the soil warm and moist.

Gardener’s Tip: Tom says seedlings should be placed in the brightest window or additional light should be used to keep the seedlings compact. 

Moving Seedlings Outdoors

  • Seedlings are ready to go outside when they have 4-6 leaves.
  • Set them outside in a protected spot for a little longer each day.
  • In 4 or 5 days they should be acclimated and ready for the garden.


  • Plant vegetables in a warm spot in the garden or in a portable container.
  • Early spring veggies can handle freezing temperatures once they germinate
  • But a containerized plant can be moved inside if there’s a real cold snap.

Tom’s Favorite Early Spring Veggies

Cabbage, Cauliflower and Broccoli

  • Best if started indoors as seedlings and then transplanted out into the garden.
  • Ready for the hardening off process 3-4 weeks after the seed is sown
  • Veggies ready to eat 6-8 weeks after the plants are moved to the garden.

Salad Greens (Leaf Lettuce, Endive, Mache and Mustard Greens)

  • Buy pre-mixed packets of greens or mix your own.
  • Use the seeds indoors for the best germination.
  • Harvest small, tasty greens in 3-4 weeks or wait 6 weeks for larger bunches. 


  • Peas grow best along a short, two foot trellis.
  • Planted now, peas will be ready before Memorial Day.


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