Gardening fun is finally back! While Spring has officially arrived, the cool winter air is still lingering. For those of us that can’t wait to get into our gardens after the long winter cool season vegetables are the answer.
Cool Season Vegetables
Cool season vegetables are the first to be planted in the calendar year. These early Spring vegetables can be planted both in early Spring and again in Autumn. Cool season vegetables thrive in cool weather and must be harvested before the summer heat, as only a few can withstand hot temperatures.
Preparing the soil
During beautiful early Spring, Winter soil thaws and warms through the season at least to 40° F and higher. The best way to prep this defrosted soil is to till the and mix in compost. This early season is the best time to fill your soil the nutrient rich material packed with beneficial bacteria that compost offers. A basic rule of thumb when applying compost is the 2:6 ratio; two inches of organic matter worked into six inches of soil. If you want to know more about making your own compost for a healthy and ready to grow root zone, check out our blog Sustainable Gardening for the New Year – Mulch and Compost. There you will get a detailed explanation on compost and how to best utilize it.
If your compost is newly started and not ready for your garden just yet, consider OMRI listed BioAct SD®. A biological stubble digester, BioAct SD adds beneficial microbials to your compost to help accelerate its decomposition, increase its nutrients availability, and quickly make compost available to your garden.
Early Spring Vegetables
There are so many delicious vegetables we are so excited to start planting. Here is our list of what Early Spring Vegetables we’re planting now and how to care for them in your own garden. For information on your growing zone which we will talk about, be sure to check out our last blog, Starting Your Spring Garden.
Broccoli is currently ready to grow in USDA Growing Zones 2 to 11. Place your growing broccoli in a spot of your garden that experiences full sun. For good growth your broccoli should be planted in well-drained soil with a soil pH between 6.0 – 6.8. Broccoli seeds germinate within 4 to 7 days. If you’re not starting your broccoli directly in the garden and are instead cultivating your seedlings indoors make sure they have plenty of lighting. The best time to start your seeds indoors is 6 to 8 weeks before your last frost date. After 2 to 3 weeks post your last frost date your seeds are ready to sow outdoors. Depending on the variety, it may take about 48 to 115 days for broccoli to reach maturity.
Broccoli requires about an inch of water per week that penetrates deeply to encourage deep rooting.
- Diseases & Pests
Broccoli isn’t just delicious to us. Aphids, cabbage worms, and slugs are common pests that love broccoli. To combat them we recommend OMRI Listed products Pest Out® or BioRepel® for pest treatment and prevention.
Spinach is currently ready to grow in USDA Growing Zones 2 to 9. Spinach should be grown in a spot that experiences full sun to partial shade. Spinach grows best in well-drained, nitrogen rich soil with a pH between 6.5 – 7.0. Spinach seeds have more leeway and stand well to still cold weather. Seeds can be sown as early as six weeks before the last frost. Once seedlings have germinated and are about 3 to 4 inches (7 to 10 cm) tall, fertilize them regularly about once a week with a diluted fish emulsion or an alternative nitrogen-based fertilizer. Our OMRI listed Aqua Power™ and Biomin® Starter products are excellent options. Most spinach varieties are ready to harvest in 37 to 45 days.
Spinach needs around 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Including mulch around your spinach will help it to maintain soil moisture.
- Pest Control
- Diseases & Pests
We hope you enjoyed our piece on early Spring vegetables. We will go over late Spring vegetables in our upcoming article. No matter what you are planning on planting, Biomin Starter makes a fantastic growing environment filled with nutrients for plants tarting from seed. If you plan on starting from transplant, be sure to start your plants with a great rooting establishment product like Rhizone to ensure success on transplant.