It’s springtime! You’ve survived the harshest winter and the sun has finally started shining its rays.
This means it’s the perfect time to step back into your garden and put all that pent-up energy you accumulated during winter into good use.
Question is, what are the best crops to grow once you’re done preparing your gardening?
Which are the best vegetables to plant this early on?
To help you answer these questions, we scoured the web and came up with 12 vegetables that do well when planted in spring. Let’s dig in…
Which are the best vegetables to plant in spring?
Pisum sativum, or as it’s popularly known, the pea plant is a herbaceous annual crop that thrives in cool weather.
It’s known for its trailing stems, which produce compound leaves each with about three leaflets.
Its flowers come in a variety of colors, ranging from purple to pink and white. This plant’s fruits are the pods, which hold 5 to 10 seeds.
It is these seeds that are widely used in the culinary world. You can toss them in salads to add a bit of freshness or incorporate in soups or stews when dried.
Regardless of how you’ll consume them, you’ll want to plant them in early spring.
First, soak your seeds a night before, to speed up the rate of germination. Then, find a suitable growing medium, and sow them about 1 inch deep.
By suitable we mean fertile soil with good drainage to mitigate the risk of root rot.
Be sure to place your pea plant(s) in a partially-shaded spot too.
The good thing about this crop is that it’s highly adaptable. Hence, it can be grown in containers. If you choose this approach, water them frequently enough to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
Watering is particularly important when the plant starts flowering because it ensures that the peas have a sweet flavor.
Other than that, the only thing you’ll need to do is to find a way to support it -since it’s a trailing plant- and wait for your rewards within the next 3 to 4 months.
Cultivated for more than 2,000 years now, spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your plant collection.
Although not a favorite among kids, it’s chock full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, carotenoids, iron, calcium, folic acid, and more.
If you’re looking to grow spinach, the secret is to time your planting right.
The best time to plant is in spring or as soon as the soil becomes workable.
I have found the most success when I plant the seeds directly in the garden about 1 to 1 ½ month before the last frost date.
Keep in mind that spinach grows at supersonic speed. So if you’re thinking about starting it off indoors, don’t do it more than 3 weeks before your preferred transplanting day.
When planting, remember to space out the spinach seed rows, at least 12 inches apart. And after planting, cover with a layer of soil, then water.
As soon as the plant starts developing true leaves, thin your plant to 6 inches.
Spinach isn’t too picky about its lighting requirements. It can thrive in the sun or partial shade.
That said, you should never place your plant underneath a flower bed. If any critters attack the flowers, they will start snacking on your spinach leaves too.
There’s something alluring about the Asparagus officinalis, or as it’s popularly known, asparagus.
Perhaps it’s the crown it wears on top, or maybe it’s how it manages to remain subtle while also being an eye-catcher.
Regardless of what it is, we’re glad that this vegetable exists because it’s highly versatile and nutritious.
The ideal time to plant asparagus is in early spring, at about the same time you would put potatoes underground.
Usually, most gardeners grow it from 1-year-old plants, which are referred to as crowns.
But, it’s also possible to grow it from seed. I prefer to grow it from crowns because it eliminates the year-long hassle of dealing with weeds and caring for the young seedling in other ways.
Whichever route you choose, remember to maintain the conditions necessary to keep this plant growing healthily.
For one, consider choosing a suitable planting site, exposed to full sun. The best place should also be close to your garden’s edge to prevent the plant from being disturbed by the activities of growing other crops.
A quick tip: plant the crowns deeply so that they’re shielded from the cultivation required to control weeds, which are likely to pop up in the course of the year.
Secondly, plant in well-draining soil. Its pH should also be slightly acidic (about 6.5).
Maintain a temperature of 70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C). Asparagus also thrives when it’s given a bit of a nutrient boost through fertilization.
Since peak growth happens in spring, this is the best time to apply a balanced fertilizer, such as a 5-10-5 or a 5-10-10.
Kale is a nutrient powerhouse. The leafy green vegetable contains copious amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and omega 3s.
But this is not the only reason why kale is so revered. It can last a long while in your fridge and still retain its freshness. And, it’s surprisingly very easy to grow.
The best time to plant it is during springtime or fall because it enjoys cooler temperatures. While this plant does extremely well in cool weather, it’s less tolerant of heat.
If exposed to intense heat, it either starts to flower or goes to seed. If this happens, the resulting leaves will not only be smaller in size, but they’ll also be bitter.
To avoid this, maintain optimum growing temperatures.
Kale is happiest when the temperature is between 60°F and 75°F (16°C to 24°C) although it can tolerate temperatures as low as 35°F to 75°F (2°C to 24°C).
Apart from temperature, another aspect you should be mindful of is the type of soil. It’s wise to sow kale seeds in a growing medium that is fertile and well-draining.
Plant the seeds to a depth of ¼ to ½ inch then maintain constant moisture, particularly during germination.
You will also want to ensure that your kales are receiving enough sunlight, preferably, 6 to 7 hours of sunlight every day.
If the sun is too hot, however, consider moving your growing plants to a more shaded area.
A superb source of vitamin A and a couple of other minerals, carrots are a must-have vegetable in your garden.
This is because they’re quite versatile, offering you the option to eat them raw (as in salads) or cooked.
Carrots are a cool-weather vegetable. As such, the best time to sow its seed is in early spring. The temperature should be about 50°F (10°C).
For the planting site, look for an area with loose, and well-draining soil.
Sandy loam soil is the best option for this plant. It can also grow in heavy soil but chances are, it will mature at a very slow pace.
A quick tip: clear stones and clods from the planting bed so that the roots have plenty of room to spread and grow.
Other conditions necessary to grow carrots are lighting and watering.
When it comes to light, this vegetable can grow under little shade but it’s happiest when grown under full sun. Sufficient amounts of light result in sweet and crunchy carrots.
Watering is another crucial factor in this vegetable’s growth. It needs no less than an inch of water weekly.
More importantly, soak the soil whenever you water to ensure it reaches the roots.
Radishes are one of the most diverse vegetables, both in terms of shape and size.
They range from the Black Spanish radish, which has a coal-black exterior to the more popular Cherry Belle radish with a bright red skin.
While they’re often added in dishes to give color, radish is a vegetable that packs so many nutritional benefits. Not only is it rich in antioxidants but also fiber, minerals, and anthocyanins.
Radishes grow well when they’re planted in either spring or fall. If you wait until summer, the temperatures will be too high, causing them to bolt.
Once this happens, you’ll end up with radishes, which have an unpleasant, overly bitter flavor.
The season is not the only factor you should be worried about when growing this cool crop. The planting site and growing medium also matter.
You’ll want to sow its seeds in fertile and well-draining soil. Sow the seeds to a depth of 1 ½ inch in holes dug about 12 to 18 inches apart.
Furthermore, you should plant them in an area exposed to full sun. Excess shade can cause prolific leafy growth but its root systems will be too frail.
One positive thing about radish seeds is that they germinate pretty quickly, which eliminates the need for cultivation and weeding.
Within 4 to 5 days, your radish will have started showing its first green growth
They also don’t require too much watering, as long as the soil stays moist. In terms of temperature, maintain it in the range of 40 to 70°F (4 to 21°C), and you’ll be good to go.
A cruciferous vegetable, broccoli is a hardy, annual crop that produces big, green flower heads which are edible.
The crop, which originates from the eastern Mediterranean, is a powerhouse of nutrients.
No wonder it’s the first vegetable that people think about when they consider healthy eating.
Since it’s a cool-weather crop, the best time to plant it is in late winter or early spring. It needs cool temperatures to mature, otherwise, it will start bolting and flowering.
You want to plant it early enough so that by the time you’re about to harvest it, the temperatures don’t exceed 75°F (23°C).
Another thing you should be mindful of when growing broccoli is the amount of light. Whenever possible, plant it in an area that receives no less than 6 hours of sun every day.
It’s also a good idea to sow its seeds in soil that is compost-rich and well-draining.
So one week before your scheduled planting day, amend the soil with a layer or more of compost or organic matter.
When it comes to watering, water as frequently as you need to, to keep the soil moist. However, you’ll need to cut back on the frequency when the crop approaches maturity.
It’s also advisable to mulch the area around the base of your broccoli plants; it’s a nice way to control weeds.
If you like visiting the farmer’s market frequently, you’ve probably seen this odd-looking vegetable and wondered what it was. Well, kohlrabi is in the same family as cauliflower and cabbage.
This bulbous plant, which can take a green or purple hue, has long leafy greens which stick out at the top. Plus, it’s encased in two layers of leaves, the same way a cabbage is.
But what’s even more fascinating about kohlrabi is its flavor, which lies somewhere between that of cabbage and broccoli stems.
If you’re thinking of planting this veggie, there are a few things you should consider, one of which is timing the season right.
The ideal time to grow kohlrabi is in spring; when the temperatures are cool, preferably in the range of 40° to 75°F (4 to 24°C).
If you’d like to have a year-round supply of kohlrabi, you can also sow towards the end of summer for a winter harvest.
Speaking of sowing, consider planting its seeds in a firm bed with rich, properly-draining soil. The seeds ought to be sown half an inch deep in rows spaced out 12 inches.
Keep the soil free of weeds, and water regularly to help it retain moisture.
Potatoes have been a staple in many cuisines for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. They have so much nutritional value and they can be cooked using such an array of techniques.
You can mash, bake, boil or fry them. You can even cook them with their skins on and they’ll taste great.
For a vegetable that is this versatile, it’s not surprising that so many gardeners want to grow it. If you’re thinking about this, there are just a couple of things you need to keep in mind.
Start by looking for a sunny area. It should have soil, which is light and free draining as this is how potatoes grow best.
This helps the root system to develop healthily. If the soil is too dry prior to planting, water and then wait a couple of days before sowing.
The soil should also have started to warm up, preferably, it should have a temperature no less than 40°F (4.4°C).
Moreover, potatoes don’t thrive under intense sunlight so when you’re digging trenches, dig to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.
Your beloved potatoes should be ready for harvesting within 50 to 60 days.
However, its growing season can last for up to 120 days so don’t be alarmed if you don’t find any potatoes within the first two months.
A quick tip: Harvest enough potatoes to last you just a few days at a time.
Beta vulgaris, or beet, as it’s popularly known, is among the fastest-growing root vegetables. With nearly all its parts being edible, it also makes for a highly nutritious crop to grow.
It contains manganese, vitamin C, iron, fiber, potassium, folate, and more.
Beets are a cool-season crop, which is why they do so well when grown in spring or towards the end of summer. The optimum temperature during daytime should be 60 to 70°F (15 to 21°C) and 50 to 60°F (10°C to 15°C) at night.
If the temperature falls below 50°F for a prolonged period, your crop may go to seed.
In terms of the growing medium, we recommend sowing beet seeds in loamy, acidic soil.
If the soil is a bit rocky or not loose enough, consider adding an inch or more of compost to make it lighter.
You can incorporate a small amount of wood ash too, which provides a good dose of potassium to boost root growth.
Another thing to note about this vegetable’s growth is that it’s not a fan of crowding. So when planting, sow the seeds about an inch deep and at least 4 inches apart.
Don’t have enough space in your garden?
No need to worry as beets fare well even when they’re grown in containers. Just ensure that the pot has good depth (minimum of 12 inches) to provide ample room for root growth.
Beets grown in containers also require consistent watering.
Cucumis sativus, or cucumber, is an elongated vegetable with a green exterior, which turns slightly yellow upon maturing.
Perhaps one of the more intriguing facts about this plant is its health benefit as a hydrating food. It’s made up of 95%, and this means a simple serving of 5 ounces provides 150 ml water, and that’s enough to meet 26% of your daily water intake.
Factor in the array of vitamins and you have a superpower food.
Better yet, growing this vegetable is incredibly easy, especially if you understand its requirements.
For starters, time your planting between late spring and late fall. By this time, the soil should have warmed up, preferably having a temperature of 65°F (18°C).
If the soil hasn’t warmed up yet, you can add a plastic cover then secure it with stones. This technique helps to raise the temperature by as much as 10°.
Cucumbers take anywhere between 55 and 70 days to mature and produce fruit.
If you’d like to hasten this process, consider starting your cukes indoors about 5 weeks earlier then transplant outdoors when the soil temperature is ideal.
When it comes to soil, this vegetable prefers sandy, loam soil, or any well-draining soil. You’ll also need to grow it under full sunlight and provide plenty of space.
But, the amount of space will depend on the type of cucumber you’re planting.
There are two main varieties of cukes- bush and vine. The bush variety is a little more compact, so they don’t need much space.
Vine varieties, however, require a ton of space. For the best outcome, we recommend growing vine cukes on a trellis.
This not only boosts airflow but also minimizes the risk of diseases.
Romans were among the first people to domesticate lettuce. Back in the day, they referred to it as “lactuca”, a translation for the milky substance contained in the veggie’s stem.
One millennium down the line, lettuce is now one of the most popularly grown vegetables in the whole world.
Being a spring crop, you might have already guessed that this vegetable prefers cooler temperatures.
Maintain the temperature at 60 to 65°F and your lettuce will have no problem growing healthily. If the temperature reaches a range of 70 to 80°F, there’s a good chance your crop will start to flower and produce seed.
Another factor you should be mindful of is the growing location. Lettuce prefers full sun, and light soil with a good drainage system.
If the growing medium you’re using does not drain freely, be sure to add organic materials to improve this.
Substances like compost or manure not only improve drainage but also provide a bevy of nutrients.
Watering is another integral part of caring for this plant. However, you don’t need to be very religious about your watering schedule since the plant doesn’t need to form any deep roots.
If anything, you’ll want it to prioritize leaf production over rooting. To achieve this, your watering should be light, but consistent. Consistent enough to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
Having a colorful and fruitful spring garden is not only rewarding but also easy to achieve. The trick is knowing which plants fare best in the season, where and how to grow them.
Want to start seeding in spring? If you do, the best vegetables to plant are peas, spinach, kale, beets, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, potatoes, kohlrabi, lettuce, cucumbers, and radish.
Remember to prepare your garden adequately before planting. For instance, you can warm the soil to get it ready for sowing, remove garden pests, and add a layer of mulch to keep weeds at bay.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.