Mendham Garden Center
Route 24, Mendham, NJ
spring gardening guide

Spring Gardening Guide: What To Plant First for Early Returns

The secret to a successful spring garden is knowing what to plant first. Frost-tolerant spring crops can endure a bit of chill at night. You can plant these crops in your spring garden earlier than you thought. The first harvest will be ready before you start planting your summer crops. The earlier you plant, the earlier you harvest. That’s a rule of spring gardening.

Spring Gardening Tips: 5 Frost-Tolerant Spring Crops to Plant First 

Lettuce | What time of year do you harvest lettuce?

Lettuce thrives in the cool, moist early spring weather. This crop comes in thousands of varieties, with butterhead and romaine being the most frost-tolerant. You can sow the seeds directly into your garden six weeks before the last frost date, regardless of the varieties. Remember to check the expected frost date on various online sites using your zip code. 

Sow more seeds every two to three weeks for a continuous harvest. Go for slow bolt varieties or those with different maturation rates. Arm yourself with towels, sheets, or insulation blankets to cover your crops if you anticipate an overnight frost. Be sure to uncover your garden in the morning.  

Broccoli | Can you grow broccoli in the spring?

Broccoli is another great crop to plant first in your spring garden. You have two options to grow this veggie: directly planting the seeds into the garden or growing seeds indoors and then transplanting them outdoors. The former takes a lot of time to mature, and quality heads may not develop until the arrival of warm weather. The latter matures quickly and gives maximum head size if you get the spacing right (one to two feet apart). 

Broccoli flourishes when temperatures are between 65- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit. The plant won’t grow if it’s too cold and will flower prematurely if it’s too hot. It is a heavy feeder. Fertilize it with low-nitrogen organic fertilizer or manure every couple of weeks.

Snow Peas | Do peas grow better in spring or fall?

Snow peas are spring frost resistant and develop well when temperatures range from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant these veggies once the soil is workable, usually around three to six weeks before the last anticipated frost date. Apply pea inoculant as you are directly sowing the seeds into the garden. The beneficial bacteria allow plants to obtain sufficient nitrogen, increasing the quantity and quality of your harvest. 

Put up a fence, garden netting, or trellis to hold up the vines of tall snow pea varieties as they grow. Choose a bush variety like Oregon Sugar Pod II if you prefer shorter plants. Most snow pea varieties are sufficiently mature for the first harvest after 60 days of planting. 

Beets | When is the best time to plant beets?

You can sow beet seeds directly into your garden around four weeks before the last spring frost in 3 to 7 USDA growing zones. Beets are half-hardy – they can withstand light frosts of between 30- and 32-degree Fahrenheit. 

Beets take up to 10 weeks to mature. You can significantly cut this maturity time by starting seedlings indoors and transplanting them. They do well in well-drained soil. They also like plenty amount of sun. Get rid of weeds to ensure smooth air circulation and eliminate competition for nutrients.

Kale | How do you grow kale?

Kale comes out of the cool spring weather unscathed. It produces quality, edible leaves within just 30 days of planting. You can sow kale seeds directly into your garden immediately after the soil temperature hits 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Kale seeds will yield quality and tasty leaves if you grow them in very fertile, adequately drained soil. Keep that in mind when choosing a spot for it. 

For all of your garden needs visit Mendham Garden Center.

Contact us by phone:

973.543.4178 for Mendham

908.879.5020 for Chester

908.730.9008 for Annandale