Early to mid May is the time to plant the first veggie plants in your garden! Many new gardeners do not realize that several crops can be planted well before the last frost. These veggies are known as cool season veggies and although they can be planted later, they will establish and produce better if planted in cooler weather. They are easy to grow and are ready to harvest before warm season crops such as Tomatoes. Some crops such as lettuce and other greens do well if seeded or planted several times throughout the year.
Lettuce, mesclun mix, mustard greens, arugula, kale, beets, spinach, peas, radish, swiss chard and carrots are all veggies that can be purchased as plants or seeded directly into the garden. Whether you decide to direct seed or plant transplants is your choice. Many gardeners find planting transplants easier, but direct seeding is cheaper. If you choose to direct seed, sow thickly in a shallow row. Over sowing is used because germination at this time of the year can be dependent on the weather. Once the seeds have germinated and the seedlings are making good growth, thin the plants. Thinning, or removal of the excess seedlings allows proper spacing of the remaining plants and promotes full development.
Leeks, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts and asparagus are all veggies that need to be planted as transplants. They will not germinate in outdoor soil conditions. Leeks and asparagus should be mounded as they grow, but otherwise, just plant, water and weed like any other plant.
Plant now and you’ll be eating fresh Lettuce before the end of June!
For more information about planning your planting times for veggies, use this chart from West Coast Seeds as a guide.