How To And When To Plant Cool Season Crops
Cold Hardy and Semi Hardy Crops Can Be Easy And Fun To Grow!
To get an early start on your spring garden, plant cool-season crops like lettuce, broccoli, and potatoes. These plants can withstand cooler temperatures and thrive in spring. Growing spring crops and vegetables will be easier if you know when to plant the seeds, what to grow, and how to grow them.
With the right knowledge, you may discover cool-season gardens may be one of the easiest and enjoyable gardens you will ever have.
#1 - What Cool Season Crops Should I Grow?
What Cool Season Crops Should I Grow? There are a large number of vegetables that can be planted in the early spring that tolerate colder weather and soil. Such vegetables are considered cool-season crops. It is wise to plant cool-season crops in the early spring so that they mature while the weather is still cool and before the summer heat becomes unbearable. During warmer weather, many early crops tend to bolt or go to seed too early. Seeds or transplants of these crops should be planted at the right time-ideally, early spring-to guarantee optimum growth.
You must know where you live to determine which spring garden plants you can grow and when to plant them. USDA Plant Hardiness Maps provides expert guidance on which plants are likely to thrive in your particular climate based on the average annual minimum winter temperature in each 10 degree Fahrenheit zone.
#2 - Understanding Differences Between Cold Hardy Plants
When the soil and air temperatures are at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit, cool-season crops can be planted. A crop's ability to withstand cold temperatures determines whether it is classified as "hardy" or "semi-hardy.".
In general, hardy vegetables perform best in cold temperatures-their seedlings can typically survive heavy frosts, as well as their seeds germinate well in cool soil. Seeds or transplants can be sown two to three weeks before the average last spring frost; they will grow in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
"Semi-hardy" vegetables will grow under light frost if planted at the right time. They can be sown as early as two weeks before the average last spring frost if the minimum daytime temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Direct seeding is better for some cool-season crops, while indoor planting is better for others. The following information outlines recommended practices for popular cool-season crops: Start indoors with these hardy vegetables: Onions, Rutabagas, Cabbage, Collards, Broccoli & Brussels sprouts. Start indoors with these semi-hardy vegetables: Celery, Artichoke Globe & Cauliflower. Start outdoors with these Hardy vegetables: Turnips, Peas, Spinach, Kohlrabi, Radishes & Kale. Start outdoors with these semi-hardy vegetables: Salsify, Lettuce, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Endive, Potatoes, Asian Greens, Arugula & Beets.
“Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year; for gardening begins in January with a dream.” – Josephine Nuese, Author of the Country Garden
#3 - What To Prepare And Expect In A Cool Season Garden.
The chances of successfully growing cool-weather crops increase if the soil temperature is the correct one, so measure your soil temperature beforehand. At the recommended planting depth, measure the temperature when planting seeds or transplants. It is best to use a soil thermometer or any thermometer that can measure temperatures of the soil up to freezing Remember to monitor your weather so a surprise freeze won't damage your crops. Make sure you have floating row covers or old sheets on hand to cover plants and provide warmth in case temperatures dip below the tolerance of the plants. It is better to stagger sowing a couple crops about a week apart to maximize your chances of a successful crop.
#4 - Expecting Ice, Plant It Twice
Despite having a long and productive warm-season garden, cold-weather can arrive sooner than we would like, but that means we will be able to plant all these cool-season crops twice! An early spring planting can be followed by a second planting in late summer for harvest in the fall. Remember, just because the cold weather is coming, doesn't mean the garden needs to stop.
Alliance of Native Seedkeepers Store
A little basic preparation is usually enough for cool weather crops to thrive. In fact, we love growing in cool weather. As well as offering thousands of varieties of seeds, Alliance of Native Seedkeepers carries hundreds of varieties that are suitable for cool-season gardens in most climates. Be sure to check it out as our selection continues to grow with each season.