5 Reasons to Warm up to Cool Vegetables
- Start your garden early with fresh, homegrown vegetables.
- Save cold, hard cash vs. supermarket prices.
- Great way to extend the growing season.
- Fewer problems with insects and heat stress.
- Great way to get kids outside gardening and eating their veggies!
5 Cool Foods for Thought
You might think of the growing season as the time between frosts. But vegetable gardening doesn’t have to wait until warm weather to be in the forecast. Cool season vegetables are heartier varieties that tolerate, and even thrive, in the cold soil of early spring. For many gardeners, April marks the best time of the gardening season. What’s really important is soil temperature–it must be in the 40’s for cool season vegetable seeds to grow to maturity. The soil is starting to warm up.
Here are some come cool season vegetable suggestions worth trying:
- Lettuce – Hail Caesar! Nothing like fresh romaine lettuce for your salad. It takes but a little time, space and energy. And lettuce always tastes best when it matures in cool weather.
- Onions – They can be started 3 ways: sets, seeds, or transplants. Planting sets is easiest. If you can poke a hole in the ground, you can plant an onion set.
- Carrots – For long, straight carrots, plant them in raised beds or sandy loam soil free of stones. Sweet, tender young carrots make a wonderful snack.
- Peas – They need an early start to flower and set fruit before temperatures exceed 80 degrees. There is a world of difference in the way fresh peas taste–enough to make you plant them every year.
- Broccoli – It might not be everyone’s favorite, but it ought to be. It’s really good for you and easy to grow in the Fall with seedlings.
Five Hot Tips for Success
1. To get the most vegetables throughout the year, plant cool season veggies now to extend your growing season this spring and increase your harvest.
2. Choose a well-drained spot that gets as much sun as possible. This kind of space is likely to provide warmer soil temperatures.
3. Start preparing the ground. Use a shovel to turn the soil. Add some organic matter such as Bumper Crop Compost along with some Espoma Plant-tone organic fertilizer as well as Espoma Bio-tone organic soil conditioner. If your garden has not been tilled then this is a perfect time. Turning in organics and loosening the soil adds fresh oxygen which the roots love.
4. Water deeply, but less frequently. Plants in general need less watering in cooler temperatures. If you can’t wait to get your hands dirty in the garden, there’s no reason to get left out in the cold. Give cool season crops a try!