Early Spring Veggie List: Don't wait for winter to subside - Campo (2023)

time to read: 8 Protocol

The snow is melting and the daytime temperatures are calling outside. The leaf buds swell on the trees and your hands yearn to feel the earth once more. And you're hungry. He wants leafy greens, baby sprouts, something... anything from his garden. Here is a list of spring vegetables to plant now.

birth of a season

For months we fed on the fall harvest. The winter squash ripened bright orange and sat patiently in storage until we cooked it. The sweet, crunchy apples gave us vitamin C to help ward off flu season. Dried beans simmered in slow cookers for hours for hearty, comforting meals.

Mother Nature knows what she's doing. In summer we enjoy rich and nutritious vegetables. Carbohydrate-rich autumn fruits provide the calories needed for hard work and to build a lipid layer that until recently was vital for human survival during the winter. The life cycles of lambs and chickens also correspond to the protein and fat requirements of humans at different times of the year. And as winter engulfs the land and crops no longer grow, we run out of food supplies: grains and beans, long-life squashes, root vegetables, and what we've dehydrated and preserved from our gardens.

(Video) 10 Frost Resistant Vegetables to Grow in Winter

Then spring blooms. The first plants that appear on a list of spring vegetables are the healthiest. Sprouting and thriving despite the occasional frost and snowstorm, dandelions and parsley provide the nutrients we've been missing all season. It's a powerful respite after a long, lean winter.

Miraculously, the plants you can grow first on your spring vegetable list are also loaded with the nutrients you need most right now.

workable floor

You can plant and harvest several months before your area's final frost date. And while websites may instruct you to plant onions in January and broccoli in February, this is site-specific. Your own garden may differ.

In case you still don't know yoursplanting area, investigate it. This helps determine when you should start the herbs and when it is finally safe to get tomatoes outside. Along the Pacific coast, temperatures probably haven't dipped below 20 degrees F, so you may be able to start growing radishes after the New Year. The ground in Minnesota can still freeze in March.

Seed packets recommend planting as soon as the soil can be tilled. This prevents dirt from freezing, even when the ambient temperature is still below freezing. Dirt doesn't clump together in wet clumps and refuses to fall off the shovel. It crumbles to the soft touch. The water is not so saturated in the ground that it cannot sink further.

Plant spring crops as soon as possible. Timing is of the essence because many cool-weather plants will turn sour or set seeds if it's too hot. Find the sunniest and warmest place in your garden. If you use containers, placing them in a driveway or against a brick wall can draw in more heat. Plant seeds according to package directions, noting depth and spacing requirements. If you're planting and then a cold snap hits, encourage germination by placing thick, clear plastic or an old glass window over the soil, leaving enough space below for air to circulate.

If the seed packets instruct you to wait until all danger of frost has passed, store them for a few more months.

Early Spring Veggie List: Don't wait for winter to subside - Campo (1)

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Spring Vegetable List

Salatgemüse:Early crops include lettuce, arugula, and mesclun mixes. You will succeedgrowing lettuceand green when the soil is 55 degrees Fahrenheit and many can be harvested within 30 days. And while they don't thrive during long cold snaps, they don't die unless temperatures drop below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Spinach:Plant in spring soil, harvest within 60 days, and get the most out of that crop before it sprouts. Most spinach can't handle hot summers. Some varieties are grown to last longer, but spinach is best enjoyed while it's still spring.

Asian Greens:Extremely hardy varieties like bok choy and napa cabbage still look stunning when glazed with a thin layer of icing. And as soon as the ice melts, they shine in the sun and continue to grow. Protect them from severe frost, but don't worry if nights still drop to 28-32 degrees F.

Radish:What if the temperatures still drop below 28 degrees F? Your radishes will be fine.grow radishesa smaller variety like Easter Egg will mature in 30 days, while larger, sweeter radishes like Daikon can take 60-90 days. Root crops like radishes prefer to be seeded, planted directly into the soil, rather than starting as seedlings.

Kale:Along with radishes, this tough and nutritious leafy green is one of the toughest cabbages you can grow. It can even thrive in mild snowless winters. Plant early and protect seedlings from severe frost to give them a little boost. Harvest the lower leaves and allow the plant to continue growing in the heat of summer.

onions:Choose long-day onions if you live in the north; Short day varieties if you live in zone 7 or warmer. To harvest earlier, buy onion kits, tiny onions that have been torn, plucked, and dried so you can replant them and keep growing. Onion seeds are useful for growing rare varieties, although this extends the ripening date by several months. Start with seeds inside to encourage germination, then plant the little spikes in the ground after hardening off for a few days. Onions can survive a hard frost and bite through late snow.

Peas:Snow peas are aptly named. They are among the first crops to grow, and seedlings actually do better in hard frost than mature plants. Both mangetout and mangetout can grace your table within 60 days. Sow peas directly for best results.

Turnips and chard:Silverbeet is the name for Swiss chard in Australia and New Zealand because they belong to the same family. And they are extremely nutritious plants that provide edible vegetables and roots that live in cold conditions. Sow directly indoors or out, then thin carefully and replant after seedlings emerge.

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carrots:Although they can be planted as soon as the soil can be tilled, carrots prefer slightly warmer temperatures. Gardeners often plant carrots in the second month of spring, after temperatures are higher but still freezing at night. Spread in rows, then thin after seedling emergence. Remember that carrots will only grow as much space as you give them.

Early Spring Veggie List: Don't wait for winter to subside - Campo (2)

in the greenhouse

Many frost intolerant plants do best when grown in a greenhouse several months before the final frost date. Seed catalogs list "days to maturity" between 60 and 95 days, but this count begins after transplanting, around eight weeks of age.

A sunny window is usually not enough for garden vegetables, as they need at least eight hours of direct sunlight. Growing inside a house window can result in pale, leggy and unhealthy seedlings. If you don't have a greenhouse or conservatory, supplement with strong UV light when the sun isn't shining directly on the plants. Place the light very close to the plants, but do not allow the seedlings to come in contact with the hot bulbs.

Always harden off seedlings before planting them outdoors.

Tomatoes:Start your favorite varieties within eight weeks of your last frost date. Healthy tomatoes grow quickly, so be prepared to repot them several times before heading out. The best tomatoes have plenty of room for roots.

Pfeffer:The hottest peppers come from the hottest climates. Give them more time to grow. Start Bhut Jolokia or Habaneros 10 to 12 weeks before your last frost date; Jalapeño or plantain peppers should be started eight weeks in advance. Transplant often enough so that the plants do not become tangled.

Eggplant:Slow and tender at first, then fast growing, eggplants despise the cold. Even 40 degrees F can wilt them. Plant your tomatoes a few weeks early and keep eggplants in the warmest part of your greenhouse for best results.

Herbs:The most commonly used herbs are surprisingly frost tolerant. Perennials like oregano and thyme will sprout again soon after the soil warms. The hardiest rosemary can survive the winter. However, the basil will turn black and die before temperatures reach freezing. Start with herbs indoors to encourage germination. Harden off all plants, especially those purchased from a greenhouse, and place them outdoors permanently.

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sweet potatoes:Seed companies sell sweet potatoes as cuttings: small green shoots just beginning to form roots. They also ship sweet potatoes in April, which may or may not be warm enough to come out. Sweet potatoes need heat to survive. But you can start your own panties by buying organic yam at a supermarket, planting it in moist soil, or semi-submerging it in water and storing it in a greenhouse. It can take a few months before decent cuttings emerge from a supermarket tuber. Once the sprouts have formed, carefully remove them and insert them halfway into moist, fertile soil so they can take root.

Although squash, beans, and corn are sold in greenhouses as starters and seedlings, they do best when sown directly in your garden. Root damage and transplant shock can stun the plant. Directly sown seeds sprout and thrive where they were intended.

Whether you love crunchy snow pea salads or want to add fresh greens to warm, comforting soups, your early-year garden can provide the right choice of seeds and location.


Greenhouse plants have been spoiled all their lives. Kept warm, with high humidity and moist soil, they have not even experienced direct sunlight. Always ask your local nursery if the plants have hardened off; most likely they don't have it. Employees at corporate garden centers may not even know what "hardy" means.

To harden off plants growing in your greenhouse or other greenhouses, place them in unfiltered sunlight for one hour, or outdoors for two hours on a cloudy day. Don't forget them or they will get sunburned! The next day, double the time you spend outside. Double again the next day. If your plants can survive eight hours of full sun without damage and a cool night without wilting, they are ready for permanent garden living.

Transplant at night to avoid shock. Heat and strong sunlight take a toll on a plant and now they need to recover as the roots take hold. Dig a hole in your garden soil and fill it with water. Transplant, fill in the soil around the plant, cover with mulch and water again. Let the plant enjoy a balmy, cool night before the sun comes out in force again.

What about the potatoes?

You will hear conflicting advice about potatoes. Although some gardeners plant them in early spring, potatoes are a nightshade family. The green tips do not support any frost. If they emerge, they will have to endure a cold snap, the tips will die back, which will stunt the development of the tubers. Potatoes mature within 90 to 120 days, giving them plenty of time during most growing seasons. If your season is shorter than most, plant potatoes early, but mulch tender new leaves and provide frost protection when temperatures drop.


Cold frames, hoop houses, water walls, and frost blankets are ways to extend the season and plant your plants earlier. Even cool-weather vegetables benefit from a little extra heat.

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Cold frames combine rigid sides with a glass or plastic top that sits directly on the ground to add warmth and light all season long. These can be permanent structures made of old wood and windows, or makeshift enclosures made of straw bales with heavy plastic stapled together. Hoop houses can be as simple as PVC pipe or an arched cattle slab on a raised bed and covered with plastic. If you don't have the space or finances for either, purchase a frost blanket at a local garden center or online store. Hang it above the plants for better protection, as frost can penetrate the material directly on the leaves. The frost blanket still lets in at least 80% of sunlight, so there's no need to remove it on cold days. But it does filter light, so plants grown fully under frost protection will need to be gradually exposed to full sunlight before the protection breaks down.

Originally published on Countryside March/April 2017.


What veggies to plant late winter early spring? ›

What to Plant Over 35 – 40 Degrees
  • Salad Greens. Salad greens, like lettuce and spinach, are some of the heartiest plants in the garden that can withstand cold temperatures. ...
  • Parsnips. Parsnips like cooler temperatures, and can even survive the winter, to be harvested in the spring. ...
  • Peas. ...
  • Carrots. ...
  • Turnips. ...
  • Radish.
Feb 25, 2019

What vegetable can survive winter? ›

According to Myers, the hardiest vegetables that can withstand heavy frost of air temperatures below 28 include spinach, Walla Walla sweet onion, garlic, leeks, rhubarb, rutabaga, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, cabbage, chicory, Brussels sprouts, corn salad, arugula, fava beans, radish, mustard, Austrian winter pea and ...

What are the top 5 common veggies that can be planted during winter? ›

Winter vegetables to grow outdoors
  • Beets. Plant beets 6 to 8 weeks before your first expected frost. ...
  • Broad Beans. Slow growing but delicious, broad beans will grow through the winter months if planted in mid to late fall and staked in areas with lots of snow. ...
  • Garlic. ...
  • Cabbage. ...
  • Carrots. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Onions. ...
  • Peas.
Aug 25, 2021

What is the easiest vegetable to grow in winter? ›

These cold-weather champs are kale, spinach and collards. Other hardy vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, English peas, kohlrabi and leeks. Hardy root crops are radishes and turnip, which also yields some greens from the tops. Other hardy greens include kale, mustard greens and collards.

What vegetables freeze and reheat well? ›

The best vegetables to consider are corn, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, squash and winter greens such as spinach, kale, chard and collards. Onions, peppers, celery and herbs can also be frozen.

What vegetables will not survive a frost? ›

Vegetables that will not survive a frost:
  • Basil.
  • Beans.
  • Corn.
  • Cucumbers.
  • Edamame.
  • Eggplant.
Oct 2, 2021

What veggies are best cold? ›

8 Cold-Hardy Winter Vegetables
  • Broccoli. Broccoli continues to produce side shoots once the main head is harvested. ...
  • Brussels Sprouts. Brussels sprouts are the most cold hardy of the cabbage family. ...
  • Cabbage. Cabbage is very cold hardy. ...
  • Endive. Endive is a great addition to a winter salad. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Spinach. ...
  • Swiss Chard.

What vegetable is best planted all year round? ›

Brassicas - kale, cabbage, turnips, and broccoli will all grow over the winter months. Some varieties of spinach beet will survive frosts. Root veg such as carrots and beetroot can be harvested late autumn, and stored carefully for several months. As can potatoes, onions and garlic.

What is the best vegetable to plant in winter? ›

Potatoes, carrots and peas are just three of the many vegetables to plant in winter. So, don't pack away those gardening tools just yet.
Add these to your list of vegetables to plant in winter:
  1. Potatoes. Wholesome and nutritious, potatoes are a staple part of our diet, year-round. ...
  2. Carrots. ...
  3. Peas.

What vegetable grows in all seasons? ›

Plants that are slow growing or take up a lot of space
  • Asparagus (it's a perennial, so will be in one spot for up to 20 years!)
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Pumpkins.
  • Potatoes (unless you harvest as new potatoes)
  • Melons.
  • Parsnips.
  • Leeks.
  • Tomatoes.
May 9, 2019

What vegetable grows the fastest indoors? ›

What vegetables grow the fastest? The fastest-growing vegetables indoors include radishes, green onions, lettuce, baby carrots, spinach, peas, bush beans, kale, turnips, squash, cucumber, leafy greens, and much more. Not all veggies take spring to fall to mature.

What vegetables grow in 30 days or less? ›

  • Radishes. Seed to harvest: 20 to 25 days. ...
  • Baby beets. Seed to harvest: 40 days. ...
  • Turnips. Seed to harvest: 30 to 40 days. ...
  • Kohlrabi. Seed to harvest: 40 days. ...
  • Spinach. Seed to harvest: 30 to 40 days. ...
  • Lettuce. Seed to harvest: 21 to 30 days. ...
  • Arugula. Seed to harvest: 30 days. ...
  • Baby bok choy. Seed to harvest: 30 to 40 days.

What is the easiest vegetable to grow inside? ›

9 Best Vegetables to Grow Indoors
  1. Carrots. Carrots don't require much space around them (or wingspan you could say), but they do tend to require deeper soil than other vegetables. ...
  2. Green Onions/Scallions. ...
  3. Herbs. ...
  4. Hot Peppers. ...
  5. Leafy Salad Greens. ...
  6. Microgreens. ...
  7. Potatoes. ...
  8. Radishes.
Mar 17, 2021

What vegetables can grow in 5 hours of sun? ›

Broccoli and cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage

With broccoli and cauliflower, you may be able to get a second smaller crop after you cut off the main central head. These cool-weather plants do well with 4-6 hours of sunlight daily.

What temperature is too cold for vegetables? ›

A light freeze is considered 28°-32°F, and a hard freeze below 28°F. However, any temperature below 25°F is dangerous territory for most vegetable plants.

Should I cover my vegetable plants at 39 degrees? ›

A. Our recommendation would be to remove the cold protection covering once temperatures are above 32 degrees. If you leave the covering on when it gets warm and the sun is shining brightly, it may get too hot inside the cover and stress out the plants.

Which vegetable can grow in 1 month? ›

Spinach takes around 30 days from sowing to harvest. It can be sown at the beginning of every month to get fresh green spinach leaves by the end of the month, which can be used from salads to pasta.

What veggies last the longest in the fridge? ›

7 Vegetables That Stay Fresh for Months
  • Pumpkins. So long as you don't carve it into a jack-o-lantern, fresh pumpkins can last up to four months in the refrigerator. ...
  • Beets. ...
  • Sweet Potatoes. ...
  • Cabbage. ...
  • Spaghetti Squash. ...
  • Carrots. ...
  • Onions.
Feb 16, 2016

What vegetables can you freeze without blanching first? ›

And certain vegetables, like tomatoes, potatoes, and winter squash, for example, don't need to be blanched before going into the freezer.

What vegetables should not be reheated? ›

Vegetables with High Amounts of Nitrates

If you have spinach or any green leafy vegetables, carrot, turnip or even celery, avoid reheating them in the microwave. These nitrate rich vegetables when heated again can turn toxic, releasing carcinogenic properties, which are generally cancerous in nature.

Should you water plants before a freeze? ›

Drought-stressed plants are more susceptible to cold damage, so watering plants a few days in advance of a cold snap is beneficial. Watering just before the freeze can help too by creating warmth, and the water loses its heat slowly over the hours into the colder temperatures.

What is the best material to cover plants from frost? ›

Bed sheets or comforters work best for covering large plants and shrubs. Newspaper can be used on low-growing foliage, but it can often be difficult to get it to stay in place. I have used old pillow cases, sheets, towels and even cardboard boxes.

What cooked vegetables do not freeze well? ›

Foods That Do Not Freeze Well
FoodsUsual Use
Cabbage*, celery, cress, cucumbers*, endive, lettuce, parsley, radishesAs raw salad
Irish potatoes, baked or boiledIn soups, salads, sauces or with butter
Cooked macaroni, spaghetti or riceWhen frozen alone for later use
12 more rows

What is the most nutritious vegetable? ›

1. Spinach. This leafy green tops the chart as one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables. That's because 1 cup (30 grams) of raw spinach provides 16% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A plus 120% of the DV for vitamin K — all for just 7 calories ( 1 ).

What are the most healing vegetables? ›

Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, arugula, mustard greens, and Swiss chard are packed with nutrients that decrease inflammation, enhance immune function, and improve wound healing, making them the perfect choice to promote recovery.

Which fruit is good for cough? ›

These would be a surprise for you, but pineapple is a potent cough aid. Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple that has anti-inflammatory and mucolytic (break down of mucus) properties. These two characteristics of bromelain make pineapple an excellent food to help relieve a cough.

What are the only two perennial vegetables? ›

Perennial vegetables are vegetables that can live for more than two years. Some well known perennial vegetables from the temperate regions of the world include asparagus, artichoke and rhubarb. In the tropics, cassava and taro are grown as vegetables, and these plants can live many years.

What is the easiest and fastest vegetable to grow? ›

The 7 Fastest Growing Vegetables You Can Grow At Home
  • 1 Cress – sowing to harvest: 5-7 days. ...
  • 2 Salad leaves – sowing to harvest: 21 days. ...
  • 3 Radishes – sowing to harvest: 25 days. ...
  • 4 Spinach – sowing to harvest: 30 days. ...
  • 5 Carrots – sowing to harvest: 50 days. ...
  • 6 Dwarf green beans – sowing to harvest: 60 days.
May 25, 2020

What plants yield the most vegetables? ›

The 6 Most High-Yielding Fruits and Vegetables to Plant in Your Culinary Garden
  • Tomatoes.
  • Zucchini.
  • Pole Beans.
  • Cucumbers.
  • Carrots.
  • Lettuce.
Aug 23, 2022

What veg can I plant in patches over winter? ›

What to grow for winter. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, kale, leeks and parsnips are hardy vegetables and will stand through the winter. Leafy crops such as chard, parsley and rocket should also over-winter with a little protection.

What vegetables should I plant in early spring? ›

In late February to early March, start cabbages, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, leeks, endive, escarole, fennel, lettuce, and artichokes indoors. In mid- to late March, direct sow peas, spinach, fava beans, and arugula outdoors. Start peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, Swiss chard, and tomatillos indoors.

What vegetables is it not too late to plant? ›

Here are just a few plants you can still grow before the fall weather sets in.
  • Beans. Beans love warm, sunny days! ...
  • Cucumbers. ...
  • Squash. ...
  • Carrots. ...
  • Herbs like basil, marjoram, chives and sage do well when planted in the late spring and summer, and can even thrive indoors throughout the winter.

What is the easiest vegetable to grow in spring? ›

10 Ridiculously Easy Vegetables to Grow This Spring (Promise!)
  1. Gourmet Greens. Baby greens such as arugula and mesclun, a mix of lettuce types, are incredibly expensive at the grocery store but a cinch to grow. ...
  2. Beans. ...
  3. Peppers. ...
  4. Cherry Tomatoes. ...
  5. Herbs. ...
  6. Cucumbers. ...
  7. Kale. ...
  8. Bunching Onions/scallions.
Mar 16, 2020

Which vegetables regrow every year? ›

Plant once and enjoy harvests year after year with these edible perennial plants.
  • Globe artichokes.
  • Asparagus.
  • Jerusalem artichokes.
  • Some members of the onion family.
  • Radicchio.
  • Rhubarb.
  • Sorrel.
Aug 27, 2022

What is the fastest growing summer vegetable? ›

Radishes. One of the fastest-growing vegetable plants you can grow is radish. Some types are ready to eat in as little as 3 weeks from seeding.

What can be planted in late winter? ›

Seven Crops to Plant in Late Winter
  • Strawberries. You can order dormant strawberry plants in winter for much cheaper than you can buy potted ones in spring. ...
  • Asparagus. ...
  • Rhubarb. ...
  • Horseradish. ...
  • Potatoes. ...
  • Onions and Garlic.
Mar 5, 2019

What vegetables should be planted in the beginning of spring? ›

Beans provide an abundant crop.
  • Beans. I grow lots of different beans, choosing both climbing beans (grow climbers up a tepee or on a trellis) and bush beans (suitable for pots or the edge of a garden bed). ...
  • Carrot. ...
  • Cucumber. ...
  • Eggplant. ...
  • Lettuce. ...
  • Potato. ...
  • Pumpkin. ...
  • Sweet corn.

What vegetables are in season in early spring? ›

Spring is such a bountiful season it's hard to choose just a few! Some other vegetables that are ripe for the harvest in springtime include asparagus, broccoli, celery, radishes, rhubarb, turnips, garlic, and many herbs and spices.

What can I plant outside in early spring? ›

You may plant these seeds outside directly into your garden: kohlrabi, kale, collards, Chinese kale, peas, onions, radishes, spinach, lettuce and turnips. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are best started indoors as early as 4-6 weeks before planting them outside.

What grows quickly in winter? ›

Sage, parsley, coriander, rosemary, thyme, and mint are perfect for growing in the cooler months. Plant with full sun and harvest in a matter of weeks, although a lot of herbs can be picked right after planting seedlings.

What can you plant in soil to make it better in the winter? ›

Some cover crops directly add nutrients to the soil by fixing nitrogen at their roots. Examples include winter field beans and peas, clover and vetch. These are all types of legume and are a great choice for sowing before nitrogen-hungry brassicas such as cabbage.


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