I love to talk about “cold crop” veggies because I don’t think enough people know they can plant them this early, especially as winter slowly lets go of its grip. This is a perfect time to grow some cool loving veggies. Some can even be grown in your early spring pansy containers.
While waiting for the ground to defrost a bit, we can try many cold crop veggies in containers. Lettuces and other leafy greens, such as arugala, spinach and kale can be grown from seed or plants easily and can add some great color and texture in containers or window boxes alongside your pansies and other cold tolerant annuals as well as functionality. These colorful, vitamin filled leaves can be harvested and mixed into your store bought salads to get a fresher taste as we wait for the real growing season to begin. You can plant seeds in pots or in the ground, because you can harvest lettuce before late May, it won’t get in the way of your tomato season.
Other veggies that like to get off to a cool start are onions, shallots, strawberries and potatoes. these easy good “first timer” crops love to get a jump on the growing season. Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower grow better because there are fewer problems with insects and heat stress than you’ll find later in the season. Radishes planted at this time can be harvested in as few as 30 days! Greens like spinach and mustard can be harvested and it will grow back for another harvest in about a week. You often see these in the fancy restaurants now promoted as “sustainable agriculture micro greens.” This is an easy way to start eating more healthy, start a project with the kids or try your hand at being a local farmer.