Archive for the ‘spring planting’ Tag

Gardening Tips for Fresh Salad Veggies


During the winter, I like to tap into my stores of canned and pickled vegetables from my garden. However come spring, there is nothing I enjoy more than harvesting fresh vegetables to make a big, garden fresh salad. (Yes, real men do eat salads.) If you are a salad lover, too, here are some tips for your garden.

Plant greens in April- April is a great time to plant salad green such as lettuces, spinach, kale, and even broccoli. These plants all do well with warm days and cool nights.

Space out your sowings- Lettuce and other salad greens grow very quickly. So you can continuously sow lettuce seeds throughout the spring to have a fresh supply for several weeks. Try planting lettuce seeds every three weeks or so throughout the spring. Take a break during the hot summer months, then continue planting lettuce seeds again in the late summer.

Plant fast-growing radishes- Radishes are excellent for those who are looking for a bit of (practically) instant gratification. They go from seed to harvest quite quickly, and are great for a variety of applications, (as you may remember from my radish blog from last year). Green onions are another fast growing salad crop.

Plant a variety of greens- Don’t stop at predictable Bibb lettuce and Iceberg lettuce. Try something a little different, such as my favorite Red Salad Bowl lettuce. The leaves are large and crisp, and a pretty deep scarlet bronze color. Don’t forget about the super nutrient powerhouse spinach, too. A great variety here is Giant Nobel spinach, which is a very reliable producer of large, smooth leaves.

Remember to water- When you plant greens, make sure to keep their soil moist so that they do not develop a bitter flavor. All leafy greens crave water– but don’t give them so much that the soil becomes swampy.

Harvest strategically- When you harvest lettuce and spinach leaves, cut the leaves off about 2-3 inches from the base of the plant. This way, the plant will produce new leaves, and you can get several harvests from the same plant.

Harvest in the morning- Lettuce and other leafy greens are sturdy and crisp first thing in the morning. If you harvest in the evening, after an entire day of stress, the leaves are more likely to be wilted and tired.

Thin your seedlings- Once you have planted your lettuce seeds, the lettuce plants may come up crowded together. In this case, it is best to pull out some of these seedlings. This is a process referred to as “thinning,” and it will help to insure that your remaining plants have enough room to grow. Once your seedlings have sprouted, thin them to be about 2 inches apart. The good news is that you can eat the baby greens from the seedlings that you have to pull.

Check for snails at night- Slugs and snails may try to eat your salad greens. Your best defense in an organic garden is to check your garden at night, and simply pull snails and slugs off with a gloved hand.


Planning for the Spring Planting Season, Part 4: Seed Starting Tips

I just love the month of March. Daylight savings is coming up and the days are getting longer, the frigid weather is beginning to melt away, and the trees are starting to bud. March is also the official start to the spring planting season in many hardiness zones, including here in zone 7b. There are many types of fruits, vegetables and flowers that can be direct sown in March. My favorites are listed here in my blog from last year, What Can I Plant In March?

For seeds that are not quite ready to go in the ground yet, or ones that do not have a lot of success when they are sown directly in your garden, March is a good time to start your seeds. The term “seed starting” refers to the process of  planting your seeds indoors, in a safe and temperature controlled environment. Then, once the seeds have sprouted into seedlings, they can be transplanted outside into your garden. There are several good reasons to start your seeds indoors, including:

  • Seed starting gives you a head start. You can plant seeds inside while the ground outdoors is still hard, and while there is still the danger of seedling-killing frost in your area.
  • Vegetables that like cooler temperatures, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and head lettuce will grow better when started indoors. This is because they can go from transplant to harvest before the hottest days of the summer set in.
  • If you buy seedlings from a garden store, it is much, much more expensive than growing your own seedlings then transplanting them. Plus, when you buy seedlings, you are limited to the mainstream varieties that are available. When you start your own seeds, you can use any seeds you want.

Now depending on where you live, you may be able to start your seeds right away, or you may have a little ways to go. The best way to tell when you are ready to start your seeds is to count backwards from when you typically receive your last frost.

  • Eggplants and peppers- Start your seeds 7 weeks before your last frost date. Transplant the seedlings outdoors 2 weeks after you receive your last frost.
  • Tomatoes- Start tomato seeds 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. Tomato seedlings can be planted outdoors as soon as your last chance of frost has passed.
  • Squash, cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins- All of these plants generally like heat. You can start your seeds indoors 3 weeks before the last frost date. Wait 2 weeks until after the last chance of frost has passed to transplant your seedlings outdoors.
  • Corn- Start corn seeds 5 weeks before your last frost date. Transplant the seedlings as soon as the last chance of frost has passed.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage- These are cool season vegetables, so they can actually go in the ground up to  a month before the last chance of frost has passed. These cool season veggies can be started indoors 5-7 weeks before you want to transplant them. Then the seedlings can be transplanted in your garden 4-6 weeks before the last frost.

For more tips on how to start your seeds, please visit my articles:

Tips for Starting Your Garden With Seeds

Tips for Growing Heirloom Tomatoes From Seeds

Planning for the Spring Planting Season, Part 3: Installing a Rain Barrel


We all know that April showers bring May flowers. And if you have a rain barrel, you can stretch those beneficial showers even further. A rain barrel is a device that collects and stores rain water, therefore allowing you to recycle it in a variety of ways. It is an efficient device that is earth-friendly and easy to maintain. If your city has any type of water restrictions, then a rain barrel is a must for you in order to be able to water your plants. It is also a great way to know that, should you be without running water, you will have a stored supply available to you. Just one single rain barrel can store up to 80 gallons of rain water. I probably would not recommend drinking water from a rain barrel yourself. But collected rain water is perfectly sufficient drinking water for your survival garden.

You can purchase a rain barrel at pretty much any major lawn and gardening store for less than $100. Or, if you are a big do-it-yourselfer, you can even make one yourself. If you are particular about its appearance, then don’t worry. You’ll find that there are several different designs, including ones that are designed to match your decor, such as those that mimic the look of ceramic or terra cotta.

Rain Barrel Tip #1: If you have gutters, your rain barrel should be placed underneath a downspout on your house. If you do not have gutters, you can place the barrel under a spot on your roof where water flows off. Either way, this is the most logical place for your barrel to collect water.

Rain Barrel Tip #2: If your ground is not even, try placing the rain barrel on some cinder blocks, patio stones, or gravel. If it is possible, try to prop your rain barrel up so that it sits about 1-2 feet off of the ground. Cinder blocks are an easy solution for this, or some people build a wooden frame. This will make it easier for you to empty water from the barrel once it is full. (You should not expect to be able to lift 500 pounds of water, you’ll need to rely on a spigot.) Having the barrel propped up also means that you can rely on gravity to feed the water to the spigot, and into hoses.

Rain Barrel Tip #3: Once your rain barrel is in place, all that is left for you to do is cut your downspout, and/or the top of your barrel to insure that water flows into it. If your rain barrel has a solid lid, you will need to cut a hole for the downspout using a jigsaw. If your rain barrel does not have any lid at all, it is wise to cover it with a piece of screen in order to prevent leaves, debris, and animals from getting into your barrel. Try to fashion your rain barrel so that there is only one specific opening where the clean water will flow in.

Rain Barrel Tip #4: You also have the option of installing more than one rain barrel, and installing overflow tubes so that if one rain barrel overflows, the water will flow into another barrel.

Rain Barrel Tip #5: A rain barrel is really not something that can be used year round. You should not leave water in your barrel over winter to freeze. If you live in a region where you are still experiencing very cold weather, wait until the risk of a hard freeze passes in order to install your barrel. Once the start of spring hits your region, it’s rain barrel time.

For some great how-to tips, check out these resources:

Making and Installing Your Rain Barrel- Do It Yourself. com

Rain Barrel Basics- YouTube Video

How to Set Up A Rain Barrel- Cool People Care

Installing a Rain Barrel- Joel the Urban Gardener

Planning for the Spring Planting Season, Part 2: Taking Seed Inventory

I derive a great satisfaction from saving my own seeds from my garden every year. Perhaps it is because some giant monopolizing seeds companies (ahem, Monsanto) will have us believe that we shouldn’t be doing it. Or perhaps it is because it symbolizes just how self-renewing and self-sustaining gardens really are. But either way, saving seeds is a simple task from which I receive great pleasure. So if you’re reading this blog, hopefully that means you’re a seed saver, too. With spring on the way, it’s time to start taking inventory of your saved seeds. It is wise to not let your seeds get too old, and to track just how long you’ve been storing them.

Each time I save seeds from an item from my garden, I dry them out completely, place them in paper envelopes, then file them inside a plastic file box or glass jar. (For full details, you can read my tips on saving seeds here.) This storage system helps to keep the seeds from being exposed to extreme heat or cold and moisture, which is very important.

Now you’ll notice that in the above article, I recommended planting seeds within a year. This is the best case scenario- to plant seeds the year after you save them. But of course this is not always possible. So if this is the case, it is very important to rotate your seeds storage. As with any survival food that you store, you should be rotating the oldest seeds forward and using them first. The newest seeds should be rotated to the back of your storage.

Not all seeds have the same shelf life, so you can actually safely and effectively save some seeds longer than others:

  1. Short Lived– Short lived seeds are ones for which the one-year rule applies. I generally do not recommend keeping corn, leek, onion, parsnip, or spinach seeds for longer than one year. Try to plant your seeds the next planting season after you save them. These items all are a high priority in my garden- I’ll pull these seeds out of storage first.
  2. Medium-Lived- These include beans, carrot, celery, chard, eggplant, parsley, peas, pumpkin, and squash. Medium-lived seeds should be planted within 2 to 3 seasons. So if you have pea seeds from last season that you don’t intend to plant this year, that’s okay. You can rotate them to the back and plan to keep them for another year or two.
  3. Long-Lived- Here’s some good news- lots of seeds that you can easily store are long-lived seeds. These include include beets, all brassicas (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, and kohlrabi), chicory, endive, escarole, radicchio, cucumber, kale, lettuce, melons, mustard, peppers, radish, rutabaga, sunflower, tomato, and turnip. Whew! So for long-lived seeds, you should rotate your oldest ones to the front. If you have cucumber seeds that are 5 years old, you can still plant them this year. And the newest ones can go to the back. You can store long-lived seeds for 5-6 years.

Even Urban Dwellers Can Have a Crisis Garden

I’ll admit it: When it comes to gardening, I’m spoiled. I have plenty of land on which to sow and harvest, along with the space for a rain barrel and a compost heap. But for a great number of people all over the entire world, I realize that this is simply not the case. So if you’re gardening space consists of a small balcony, porch step, or cement patio, then you are not alone. In fact, I’d venture to say that you’re far from it, and that people like me with large plots of land, are actually a growing minority.

But just because you do not have an expansive backyard does not mean that you can’t grow your own food. Far from it! In fact, container gardening and rooftop gardening are becoming increasingly popular, because the truth of the matter is that even if you live in an urban setting, you should be exercising your right to grow your own food and maintain a crisis garden.

Along these lines, I found a terrific article this week that left me feeling downright inspired. Check it out. These folks are building a rooftop garden in Queens, and it is covered in the New York Times:

“Six Stories Above Queens; A Fine Little Spot for Some Farming”

Now before you rush to the roof of your apartment and lay down some topsoil, there are a few things you should be aware of. Rooftop gardens present some pretty specific conditions, so here are some precautions for you take note of. So read them, then rush to the roof of your apartment to lay down some topsoil!

(1)   Plant veggies and fruits that do well in full sun. Since your rooftop is above trees that provide shade, it is unlikely that your crops will get any shade, and it’s normally several degrees hotter on a roof than on the ground. Veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, corn, beets, summer squash, and pumpkins are all warm weather crops that will do well in full sun. Make sure to allow room for things such as trellises, stakes, and supports.

(2)   Again, because your garden will be in full sun, you’ll need to water your plants frequently and adequately. Make sure you have a reliable water source on your rooftop. You don’t want to have to lug a watering can back and forth from your kitchen 100 times a day.

(3)   All of the crops listed above may be grown in containers. However, if you plan to plant directly on your rooftop, make sure you put down some kind of water proof liner. You’ll definitely want to protect the roof from all the soil and water you’ll be using.

(4)   Use extremely good quality, organic soil and compost matter, and lots of it. You’ll need a depth of at least 8-9 inches whether you are planting in containers or directly on your roof.

(5)   A small container garden is probably no biggie. But if you plan to go big, (like the folks in this article,) you probably want to check it out first with your HOA or landlord. Ensure that the roof is strong enough for the size of garden that you are envisioning. Better safe than sorry!

Radishes Out the Wazoo

Remember back in early spring when we discussed vegetables that can be planted in March? Well, the first one that I had listed was radishes. I often refer to these as the gardener’s “instant gratification” because they are ready to harvest quite quickly. This year, mine went  from seed to ready-to-pick in just about a month. And I planted a very large crop of them. The result? Radishes out the wazoo.

You may be wondering, what can you do with that many radishes? They do not seem to be an ingredient that is frequently used in recipes or cooked dishes. But it does get old after a while to eat them all plain or just on top of a garden salad. And most of us simply don’t possess the creative talent to construct an Aztec God out of radishes…

Well, my lovely wife has come up with a whole array of ways to use radishes, and the terrific thing is that they’re all quite easy, (though perhaps not as visually stunning as the Aztec God). Try grating a handful of radishes and carrots, then mixing them with a dab of dijon mustard and mayonnaise. It makes an excellent sandwich condiment. Or, for a quick appetizer or snack, slice off the top and bottom of your radishes so that they are level on a plate, then use a small knife to make a little hole in the top center. You don’t need to core the whole thing, just a little hole will do. Now, fill this hole with a dollop of room temperature butter or cream cheese. Give it a sprinkling of salt, and maybe a few fresh herbs if you wish, and that’s it. You’ll want to eat these right away, because if you put them in the fridge, the butter hardens back up, and the texture is just not as delicious. My kids used to eat these butter radishes by the pound. No kidding- I actually got my kids to eat a vegetable by the pound.

With all the great uses for radishes, my favorite is pickling them. Now my wife and I pickle quite a few different vegetables, including green beans, cauliflower, beets, and many others. Her favorites are pickled okra and asparagus, and my favorites are pickled yellow squash and radishes. Yes, much, much more than just cucumbers can be pickled. Plus, pickling is an excellent way to keep the fresh vegetables from your garden, whether you want to give them as gifts, or store them in preparation for crisis.

The process of pickling radishes can be done many different ways. But the recipe that we use is pretty easy, and allows you to eat them just a day later. (Again, radishes are great for instant gratification. This is quite unlike our cucumber pickles, which take a good 6-8 weeks to cure.) This particular recipe also cuts down a bit on the hot, peppery flavor of the radishes, while still preserving their crisp, crunchy texture.

To pickle your radishes, you’ll need to first gather the ingredients for a brine:

  • 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of white table sugar
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon of celery seed
  • 1 dried bay leaf. 

Combine all of these ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Stir it until all of the sugar has dissolved into the liquid. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the brine from the heat and set it aside on the stove.

Next, wash and trim your radishes. Then, slice them thinly with either a mandolin or a knife. Place all your radish slices in a glass heat-proof bowl.

At this time, your brine should have had 5-10 minutes to cool. That’s perfect. You’re ready to go ahead and pour it over your radish slices. Leave this on your counter and let it cool for about 20 minutes. Then, tightly cover it and place it in your fridge.

That’s it- easy! These pickled radishes will be ready to eat in 24 hours, and will keep in a covered bowl in your fridge for about 5 or 6 days. If you want to pickle large quantities, you’ll probably want to go ahead and can them. You can use the exact same recipe above, and just go through the same canning process as you would any other pickled vegetable. If you need instructions on how to can properly, including selecting the right jars and sterilizing them, you can click here.

Also, the brine recipe above is good for just one bowl, or about 12-16 pickled radishes, depending on their size. I plant French Breakfast Radishes each year, which came with my Survival Seed Bank. They grow in a sort of oblong shape, and should be picked while they’re still fairly small. French Breakfast Radishes are pictured below. If you plan to use a round variety, such as Beauty Heart or Cherry Belle, these get quite a bit larger. And of course Crimson Giant is the largest, hence the name.

One additional thing worth noting: When you make your pickled radishes, keep the windows open. It’s a very stinky process! I can assure you, though, it is one that is well worth it.

The Wondrous Pink Banana Squash

Every year as I harvest the vegetables from my survival garden, it never fails that people are completely enraptured by my crop of pink banana squash. It seems that most people have never seen this bright salmon colored squash before. The conversation usually goes a little something like this:

“What kind of vegetable is that?”
“That’s a pink banana squash.”
“A pink what squash??”

It’s a wonder to me that more people haven’t heard if this veggie, because it is one of my favorites. It’s been around for a long time, too, since it was first introduced to the United States in 1893. It really is a fantastic thing to grow in your garden. Even people who claim to not like veggies, or not like squash, end up having a taste for pink banana squash.

If you order your own Survival Seed Bank, pink banana squash is just one of the 22 types of seeds you’ll receive, and I know that you’ll love harvesting it every year. This year, I planted mine during the first week of April. I probably could have planted it a bit earlier, really. You just need to wait until there is no longer any threat of frost, and temps are right around 60 degrees. The squash will be ready to harvest 100 days after you plant it. I pick my squash when they are about 18 inches in length. If you let them go, they can get quite a bit larger than this. But like zucchini and most other types of squash, if you let them get too large, the flavor becomes woody and unfavorable. Pick your pink banana squash when they’re about 14-18 inches, and they’ll have a delicious, rich flavor similar to butternut squash, and bright, peachy golden flesh.

What’s one of the best things about pink banana squash? It is very no-fuss when it comes to preparation. The first time you pick a pink banana squash off the vine, simply slice it lengthwise and remove the seeds in the center. Smear it with a bit of olive oil or butter, give it a shake of salt and pepper, then nuke it in your microwave for about 10 minutes til the flesh is soft. You can scoop the flesh right off the pink rind and eat it. Or, mash it up, and it looks like bright orange mashed potatoes. Even your kids will gobble it up.

My wife’s favorite way to prepare pink banana squash is to roast it in the oven. This is pretty quick and easy, too. All you need to do is peel the squash, slice it in half lengthwise, remove the seeds from the center, then cut it into chunks. Toss the chunks in a bowl with some olive oil and fresh herbs- thyme goes particularly well with winter squash. Place the squash on a baking pan and roast it at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Throw this together with some couscous, rice, or pasta, and you’ve got yourself a meal!

What Can I Plant in April?

Is there anything more lovely than the weather in April? It’s such a welcome change from the chilly brutality of the long winter that precedes it. Here in Norfolk, VA we’ve been enjoying absolutely great weather lately. Highs in the 60s and 70s… even some 80s lately. Lows at night hover well above freezing. My plants have been loving the sunny skies, moderate rainfall, and pleasant temperatures lately. Kids have been riding their bikes down the sidewalk, and joggers are out in full force. In nearby Washington DC, I hear they’ve even had enourmous turnouts for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. People just couldn’t wait to bask in the sun after a particularly long and arduous winter that included record-breaking snowfall amounts.

These are the joys of April- they are many. This tends to be my favorite month to spend time out in the garden. Now that we’re pretty much safe from the threat of a spring snow shower, it’s time to start planting in earnest. Here are some vegetables that tend to do particularly well when planted in April:

    1. Broccoli- Okay, so George W. Bush doesn’t like it, but in my house broccoli is an absolute dinner plate staple. If your kids are finicky and don’t like it, try disguising it in dishes such as pot pies, macaroni and cheese, or chicken and rice casseroles. Or, try blanching it instead of boiling it. This gives it a less soggy, more pleasant texture.

Broccoli is a very hardy plant, and does well in a variety of different soils. If you’re planting broccoli in a region where you’re still in danger of receiving a hard frost at night, start your seeds indoors and keep them at temps between 75 and 80 degrees F. If you’re in a temperate climate, like me, you can directly sow your seeds outdoors. Broccoli seeds do best with high temps below 85 degrees, and low temps above about 50 degrees. Once your broccoli seedlings are about 1 inch in height, trim your seedlings to one plant every 2-3 inches.

    2. Cauliflower- If it’s time to plant broccoli, then it makes sense that it would be time to plant cauliflower and other members of the Brassica family as well! Cauliflower that is planted in April will be ready for harvest in August or September. It is important to plant broccoli and cauliflower firmly, and water it regularly. Otherwise premature veggies called “button heads” will develop, and these are inedible.

    3. Leeks- Leeks take a pretty long time to grow, but in my opinion are definitely worth it. April is a good time to plant your leek seeds. Later in August, you will also need transplant your leeks. To begin this month, sow your leek seeds about 1 inch apart, and cover each one with 1/2 inch of soil. After about 6 weeks, you’ll start to see some little green shoots. When you see these, thin your plants down to one plant every 4 inches.

By mid summer, your leeks shoots will be about the width of a pencil, and about 7-8 inches high. Now it’s time to transplant your leeks. Transplant your leeks into holes about 6 inches deep, and 8-9 inches apart. This will allow you to grow thick, strong, hearty leeks. Before planting each one, trim the root so that it is about 1 inch, fill the hole with water, place the leek in, then tamp the soil down around it.

    4. Lima Beans- Here’s the thing about lima beans: they are originally from Central America, so they do require a pretty warm climate to grow. If you live in Florida or another Southern state, definitely go for some lima beans. Your soil should be no colder than about 65 degrees. I haven’t always planted lima beans in the past. But this year we’ve had such a warm spring (it was 84 degrees yesterday) that I am going to give it a shot.

Different varieties of lima beans have different growing times. Depending on which variety you get, your lima beans ill be ready to harvest within about 60-100 days. When planting your lima beans, plant one seed every 3-4 inches, and leave 2 feet of space between your rows. Make sure to cover your seeds with a full inch of soil, and tamp the soil down very well. The seeds are particularly tasty to birds and squirrels, so this will help to keep them from getting plucked out of your garden.

What Can I Plant in March?

If you’re like me, you’re ready to go outside and get your hands dirty at the very first sign of spring each year. This year, my spring fever set in a little bit earlier than usual, which I am certain is due in part to the passing of a particularly long, snowy, and arduous winter.

Now those icy months spent cooped up inside are finally coming to a close, and it’s time to till some fresh earth! Unless you are fortunate enough to live in a warm climate, however, you may feel the need to proceed with caution. Although buds are beginning to appear, temps remain a bit frosty. Here in Norfolk, Virginia, the weather tends to still be pretty cool this time of year. High temperatures are only in the 40s, and lows hover right around freezing.

The good news is that despite the fact that the chill is not yet gone from the air, there are many types of plants that do well in late winter and early spring. In fact, some crops can be both planted and harvested before hot weather comes around. Here are some types of vegetables that fare well when planted in March:

1. Radishes– Radishes are an excellent option for the gardener who is seeking a bit of instant gratification. After you plant them, they can be ready to harvest in as little as about three weeks! Several different varieties of radishes grow well when planted in the early spring, including Burpee White, Champion, Cherry Belle, Easter Egg, Early Scarlett Globe, Snow Belle, and Plum Purple. Radishes grow well in almost any soil that is prepared properly, is fertilized before planting, and has adequate moisture. Sow your radish seeds in soil that is 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.

2. Spinach- Spinach is another plant that grows well from seeds during this time of year. The results are not quite as quick as radishes, but still speedy, as spinach will be ready to pick and eat in about 48 days. Olympia and Bloomsdale varieties tend to be the most popular for spring planting. Plant your spinach seeds in rows, and space them about 1/2 to 1 inch apart. Cover them very lightly with just about 1/2 inch of soil. Make sure to water them because spinach loves moist soil. Don’t water them too heavily, however, as this can wash the seeds out or cause them to sink too low into the soil.

3. Lettuce- With fresh spinach and fresh lettuce, you’ll have the makings for a delicious springtime salad! Sow your lettuce seeds in a thin layer of just about 1/2 inch of soil. Leave a good 10-12 inches of soil between your rows. So that not all of your lettuce is mature at the same time, you may wish to stagger your rows by several days. This way, you can have successive rows of fresh lettuce for several weeks, rather than harvesting it all in one weekend. Depending on the type of lettuce you plant, it will be ready to harvest within about 6 to 14 weeks.

4. Carrots- Carrots are best planted after the final frost, so you may wish to wait until the end of March to plant your carrots. (Now mind you, you can always start your seeds indoors or under glass, but so far we’ve been discussing only direct outdoor seeding.) Carrots will be ready for harvest in about 80 days.

5. Peas- Peas are a real springtime champ. In fact, of there’s just one vegetable that you decide to sow in March this year, I’d say make it peas. They are tolerant of the cool temperatures and light frosts that still occur at this time. Early plantings also usually produce a larger yield. Your peas should be planted in single rows with about 1 inch of soil cover, and will be ready for harvest in about 60 days.