Spring Vegetables: Best Plants to Start With


Spring vegetables are ready to be planted and growing your own vegetables comes with a multitude of benefits. You know exactly where your vegetables are coming from, and homegrown vegetables seem to have a more succulent, juicy flavor, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. If you’re ready to say goodbye to your local grocery store and try your hand at growing vegetables, start with these eight.

The 8 best vegetables to grow in the spring are:

  1. Lettuce
  2. Carrots
  3. Beets
  4. Peas
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Broccoli
  7. Asparagus
  8. Spinach

Knowing the best vegetables to plant in spring is only half the battle. As a new or established gardener, there are certain things you need to consider such as soil makeup and climate zones. We are going to discuss all of the different aspects of spring vegetable growing, from the top 8 vegetables you have to try to how to successfully kickstart these plants.

What Are the Best Veggies to Plant in Spring?

When you are thinking about starting a vegetable garden during the springtime, you should keep in mind one thing: You need to choose vegetables that can withstand bouts of coldness. Think of ‘cold hardy’ plants that will continue to thrive whether they are being covered in rain and chilly breeze or more humid and hot surroundings.

Here are our top 8 picks for vegetables to plant in the spring:

1.   Lettuce

For many people, lettuce is a staple in the household (and the belly). We seem to use lettuce for virtually everything, whether we are putting together a refreshing salad or adding it to sandwiches, tacos, or cheeseburgers. This is why lettuce is such a great choice for home growing.

Another great thing about choosing lettuce is that lettuce is very easy to grow, even if you’re new to the gardening world. It also comes in a variety of different flavors and colors, which means you can really step up your salad game.

The main thing to remember about lettuce seeds is that lettuce seeds must be planted in relatively low temperatures. Lettuce seeds are unable to germinate (grow) in temperatures higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so planting sooner than later during spring is a good idea. Once planted, it should only take around two months for the lettuce to be ready for picking.

Can you say summer salad?

2.    Carrots

Carrots are another wonderful choice when it comes to planting in the spring. Even people who despise vegetables can still agree that carrots are a tasty snack. Plus, you can toss them in the oven with some parmesan or add them to a stew with no one complaining!

What’s fun about carrots is that carrots are available in a wide variety of colors ranging from darker reds to more mystical purples. Of course, you can always opt for the popular and well-known orange carrot, but what fun is that? Experiment with all the colors for a colorful array of carrots in just a few short months.

The carrot is a root vegetable. When you’re planting the carrots, make sure that there will be ample sunlight to help the plant grow. You should also make sure to water this plant often because it requires a good amount of water. With carrots, you have the option of cutting the growing process short and picking baby carrots or letting the plant mature until it produces large, crunchy carrots.

3.   Beets

Nutritionists have nothing but good things to say about beets. They are jam-packed with vital vitamins and minerals to greatly improve the health of humans, which is why they have been labeled ‘superfoods’. Who wouldn’t want to grow superfoods in their very own garden?

A major plus of growing beets is that they are pretty easy to grow. The biggest cause for concern is when temperatures start to rise too high. The beet is best grown in cooler temperatures (but not too cold). This is what makes them such a top pick for spring vegetables because they thrive in the coldness.

Beets will continue to grow in colder air. In fact, they will simply continue to double in size until they are finally picked. Be careful when the warmer temperatures start to show their faces. Warm temperatures have the opposite effect on beets, so make sure you pick the beets when temperatures begin to warm up. Otherwise, you will have a wasted veggie on your hands.

4.   Peas

Who doesn’t love peas? The unique flavor is somewhat sweet but can take on the flavor of any seasoning it comes into contact with. A side dish of peas with butter and garlic is a yummy treat, and peas added to your favorite soups or stews never disappoint. Whatever your reason for peas may be, spring is the perfect time to plant them.

When it comes to peas, they are very picky. That is because peas don’t like freezing cold temperatures, but they also don’t like the heat. That is why it’s best to plant these vegetables in late March or early April when the temperature is just right.

5.   Tomatoes

You knew you couldn’t get through this list without seeing tomatoes. The tomato is one of the most popular vegetables to grow in the springtime. It’s on everyone’s lists and always seems to make an appearance in gardens across the country. Why? Because there is something about a homegrown tomato that is sweet, juicy, and loaded with flavor.

The fun part about growing tomatoes is there are literally hundreds of different types of tomatoes to choose from. Whether you’re opting for smaller, baby-sized ones to snack on or want larger, juicier ones to complete your homemade spaghetti sauce with ease, you can find it in one of many packets for sale.

Keep in mind that growing a tomato plant requires a bit more work. Tomato plants can’t be outside when there’s snow, or they may end up dying. Instead, you need to move your tomato plant outdoors after the last snow of the season. Beforehand, they should stay inside in a pot or container before being transplanted.

Your tomato plant should be at least 4 to 6 inches high before you move it outside into the garden or outdoor container. This will give the tomato plant stability and enough power to withstand the colder temps that may still be lingering through late March and early April.

6.   Broccoli

The beloved broccoli vegetable makes a great side dish for virtually any type of cuisine because it fares well with Chicken Parmesan or Beef and Broccoli. It’s a staple in the kitchen whether you’re just looking for a healthy snack (paired with your favorite dip) or want to spruce up your recipes.

Broccoli is an easy plant to grow in the spring because the vegetable will begin to flower when the warm weather arrives. At this point, the plant will begin to grow quickly, and you should be able to pick the broccoli within the next few months, either late spring or early fall.

7.   Asparagus

Asparagus is one of many perennial plants. This means that it only needs to be planted once, and it will continue to produce year after year. Other perennial plants include artichoke, ramps, and rhubarb. While they may take up a little extra space in your garden, it’s well worth it to not have to worry about planting a new seed year after year.

Asparagus is a fairly simple vegetable to grow, and you can tell that spring has finally arrived when you begin to see spears of asparagus beginning to sprout from your garden. And while this likely isn’t a ‘first choice’ for a lot of people who say they hate this vegetable, just wait until you try it homegrown and with the right recipe.

Just make sure that your asparagus is planted in an area with ample amounts of sunlight. The asparagus plant seems to flourish most when it can be doused in sunlight, so help him reach his growth goal by positioning him in the right place.

8.   Spinach

Spinach is another one of those leafy greens, spring vegetables that seem to make their way to our plates at every course. Toss them in with some scrambled eggs in the morning, add it to your favorite salad, or sauté it for a tasty side dish at dinnertime. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals that your body needs, especially iron, so it’s a good thing to add to your diet.

Aside from spinach being versatile and delicious, it’s also very easy to grow. In fact, spinach can grow comfortably in the shade of your other crops that might be growing bigger than this little plant.

There is one thing to keep in mind, though, when you choose to grow your own spinach. Spinach grows quickly, but that also means it can go to seed quickly. That being said, your spinach plant might require a little extra tender, love, and care, and when it is ready to be picked, it should be done immediately to avoid loss of harvest.

Vegetable Growing Based on Climate Zones

Every part of the United States has its own climate zone. This climate zone goes hand in hand with how and when to grow your plants and is separated by two different growing seasons: cold and warm. Knowing which climate you live in will help you decide which vegetables should be planted and when.

Below is a chart indicating the different climate zones and what should be planted during spring.

Zone Area Climate Growing Season Coldest Temperature What to Grow
Zone 1-2 Alaska, Northern US, High Mountains Long, cold winters. Very short growing season. April to September -60 to -40F Asparagus, broccoli, eggplant, lettuce, kale, vine tomatoes.
Zone 3-4 Northernmost US, Mountain Regions Very cold winters. Slight growing season. April to October -40 to -20F Asparagus, broccoli, eggplant, lettuce, kale, peas, potatoes, squash.
Zone 5-6 Continental US Cold winters. Longer growing season. March to October -20 to 0F Corn, lettuce, melons, strawberries, tomatoes.
Zone 7-8 Southern US, Desert Southwest Very hot summers and mild winters. March to November 0 to 20F Asparagus, carrots, collard greens, corn, melons, squash.
Zone 9-10 Deep South, Gulf Coast, Florida, California Mild summers and winters. February to November 20F to 40F Bananas, citrus, greens, melons, peas, peppers, yams.
Zone 11-13 Hawaii and US Puerto Rico Tropical Year-Round 40F to 70F Bananas, citrus, kale, peppers, sweet potatoes,  spinach.

Keep in mind that this is a rough estimate on the best times to grow certain crops. Other crops may also be a part of this list, but these are simply the top choices. If you need more help finding out the right times to plant, consider asking your local florist or visiting this website.

Tips for Planting in Spring

There are certain things to keep in mind when revving up your spring garden. Things like soil and location can either have a positive or negative impact on the plants and vegetables you are trying to grow. That being said, keep these 4 critical things in mind when setting your spring garden up:

·        Location

Location isn’t just important when you are discussing real estate, it’s also a crucial part of the vegetable growing process. The good news is that most plants and vegetables will thrive with direct sunlight, especially vegetables like broccoli that require ample amounts. There are few veggies that dislike the sun altogether, although some, like spinach, don’t mind the shade.

It’s best to set up your garden where there is plenty of sunshine. Hopefully, this is in an area that is close to your home. The closer the garden is to your home, the more time you are likely to spend with it.

·        The Right Soil

The next most important part of spring gardening is the soil. Could you imagine trying to plant your vegetables in basic dirt that’s mostly rock and sand? Forget about it! A healthy garden starts with healthy soil, so this should be the main concern before even thinking about planting seeds or plants.

When it comes to soil, it’s fairly simple: soil should be nutrient-rich to help the vegetables grow strong, healthy, and nutritious. The best way to make nutrient-rich soil is to till ever-so-slightly and enhance the soil using compost or mulch. Compost and mulch are essentially a blend of green and brown waste, including leaves, lawn clippings, fruit peels, etc.

Compost needs to be tilled into the soil, and mulch will remain on top and seep into the existing soil. You have the option of buying premade compost or mulch, or you can make it yourself. Keep in mind that compost takes months of preparation when making it yourself whereas mulch can be used right away.

·        Pick the Right Crops and Circumstances

At this point, you are probably well aware of what crops to grow in spring. Take enough time to decide what kinds of veggies you really want to plant. If it’s not a veggie you like, then don’t plant it. This will only lead to a waste of time and a waste of produce. Instead, pick your favorites and bring them back home.

Once your home with your seedlings, you will need to create a garden that is plotted correctly. For the most part, this should not be too difficult. Find a spot in your yard that receives adequate amounts of sunlight to have a garden grow.

One thing to be careful of is to make sure there is a small pathway in between plants. This will keep the plants from fighting for nutrients while also ensuring nobody accidentally steps on the crops.

·        Don’t Forget to Water

No matter what part of the year you are planting your garden, one thing that is for sure is your plants need water in order to survive and grow. Make sure you aren’t adding too much water, though, as this could actually destroy your vegetables in the long run.

The best thing to do is to add about an inch of water to a soil that is especially thick. This is because the soil will be able to hold onto the moisture longer, feeding it to your plants throughout the day. A lighter soil may require a bit more water, in terms of amount and how often. Light soils release moisture and, therefore your, veggies will require more watering.

The last piece of advice when it comes to watering is to always try to water your garden in the early morning. This allows the plants to dry out during the day. This greatly reduces the overall chance of diseases forming in the roots of plants, which can lead to your plant being destroyed altogether.

Conclusion

When it comes to planting vegetables in the spring, the best options include cold-hardy veggies such as leafy greens (lettuce and spinach), tomatoes, beets, and carrots. These vegetables are not only easy to grow but are able to be picked in just a few short months. Make sure that your garden is grown in nutrient-rich soil and is provided adequate water and sunlight.

Eyerly Family

The Eyerly Family is a family of 8 that loves gardening. Over the past several years we have been applying what we learn about gardening to our own 16x16 raised back yard garden. Our garden is very prolific and we grow a wide variety of vegetables which we love to eat! Click here to learn more about the Eyerly Family.

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