Spring is finally here, so it’s the perfect time to get out and get planting! Plants need warmth and light to grow and produce edible fruits and vegetables, and the warmer weather and longer days that come with spring provides both of these things. Plant them earlier and the frost could kill them before they get the chance to grow into plants, but plant them too late and they won’t have enough sunny months to produce edible fruits and vegetables before the weather starts to cool down again.
The early spring can make for a good time to jumpstart your spring garden, especially for plants that can withstand lingering shots of cold air.
The tomatoe is the most popular garden vegetable in America. You have hundreds of varieties to choose from and can transplant them outside after the last frost, which gives you an opportunity to extend your season. Tomato transplants should grow 4 to 6 inches high in about two months before moving them into the garden.
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Whether they are red, orange, yellow or purple, these cooler season vegetables are packed with vitamins and an undeniable sweetness. Carrots are root vegetables, and with proper sun and water, they can be picked early as tender baby carrots or later on as crunchy mature ones.
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Kale may do better if it is started indoors at this time of year and hardened off a little bit before it’s replanted outside. Spending a few weeks inside to germinate will allow kale to become a small plant in the garden. It doesn’t have to be warm outside, but this vegetable crop needs light and well-drained soil to flourish.
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This vegetable will also flower when there is warmth, so now is the time to get it going. Experts say they typically start to form heads through May, and they can be harvested from spring to fall. The broccoli flower remains a tight rosette because of the cold air.
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Glossy, purple skin is the hallmark of this crop. Eggplants, like tomatoes, will not survive a frost, so be sure not to plant them too early. They are considered a low-calorie fruit and are a good source of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
Consult with local experts, like the cooperative extension in your area or a neighborhood master gardener program, on varieties that work best for your area and don’t be afraid to experiment.
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Gherkin plants can reach up to 4m in length and typically have creeping or climbing stems. They can be harvested two months after planting, which can start in June. The fruit should be very firm when harvested.
Once harvested, it is not recommended to grow Gherkins in the same area for at least 3-4 years.
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Radishes move fast in the garden from seed to bulb so keep an eye on them after a few weeks. This category of produce is virtually pest-free, although watch out for maggots. This plant is a great choice for beginners because of the easy success with each harvest. Radishes are often eaten raw or used as garnish, but other recipes include salsas, slaws and sautés.