Plant Early Spring Vegetables to Harvest at Home

It’s been an unseasonably warm start to the year, and now that many people are confined to their homes, vegetable gardens are begging to be planted. Not only is gardening an immersive activity to avoid time spent in public, planting vegetables may make you less reliant on trips to the grocery store for fresh produce. Here are some of the veggies you can get started on now. 

Generally, potatoes are planted around St. Patrick’s Day. Cut them up to include an eye and let them start to sprout before planting. Make your trench 6 to 10 inches deep and cover your potatoes with about 2 inches of soil. Once the sprouts come through, cover them with more soil until the trench is filled. 

Radishes of all kinds can be sown now and will be ready in about 3 weeks. Round red Rover radishes are ready in 21 days as well as the French breakfast radish, which is elongated and red with white tips.   

Spinach can be sown as soon as the soil can be worked. It prefers a slightly alkaline pH so add lime to your bed if it hasn’t been amended for a long time. Planting this nutritious green in spring requires using a variety that is slow to bolt when summer’s heat comes around, such as Seaside, a variety ready in 30 days. Palco is a variety that is adaptable to planting in both cool and warm seasons. It is versatile for harvesting as young baby greens, or allowed to attain full size. It is bolt- and disease-resistant. 

Onions can all be planted now. Purchase onion sets from garden centers and put into rows where you can replace with warm weather plants as the onions are harvested. 

Turnips can be directly sown in the garden. My favorites are Japanese turnips known as Hakurei. They are ready in about 38 days and are delicious.  Harvest them when they are about two inches in diameter and cook them with their greens, they don’t have the strong taste that traditional turnips do. All they need is a little butter, salt, and pepper. Turnips are tolerant of moderate frost as seedlings.   

Lettuce is another great green to plant now, it grows easily in about 40 days and can be planted in garden beds or containers. Direct sow seeds but don’t cover them as they need light to germinate. Water well to make good soil contact. As so much commercial Romaine lettuce is recalled, it’s time to grow your own. Buttercrunch, a type of butterhead lettuce grows very nicely. Red Lollo grows extremely curly and is pretty in a salad as well as attractive in containers.