Many parts of the country are experiencing a late cool Spring, which leaves home gardeners with time to get in their early crops if they start planning right away. Broccoli, peas, cabbage, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce and other greens can be started from organic heirloom seeds right away. Gardeners may want to order extra to have some on hand for fall gardens as well.
Determine which heirloom seeds need to be planted indoors before transplanting to the garden. Gardeners often have greater success by starting cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli indoors. Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard and mustard greens can be sown directly into the prepared garden soil. Root crops such as carrots, rutabagas, turnips, beets and radishes can also be started right in the garden. In many areas gardeners plant their potatoes on Good Friday, however if you haven’t ordered seed yet, a day or two shouldn’t matter.
Spring tends to be a busy time in the garden, but early preparation is crucial for cool weather crops. Clearing away leaves that have blown in during the winter and preparing the soil provides the opportunity to get a workout while planning what and where to plant in the coming season. At the same time it is important to develop a plan and get seeds started early for transplanting in later months. Tomatoes will do best with a jump-start, especially in areas with short summers. Watermelons, pumpkins and squash also benefit from an early start. Most vegetables can be sown directly into the soil, however by starting them early; they will begin producing earlier and provide more food for eating and storing.
It’s important to decide which organic heirloom seeds you will want in the garden and order them while they are still available. Many of the most popular varieties sell out early in the season and won’t be replenished until the next year. Organic heirlooms have increased in popularity as people begin to recognize the concerns associated with GMOs. Heirlooms can be saved from year to year and replanted to create a viable and sustainable lifestyle.
If you have not already started these cool weather crops in the garden this year, we recommend ordering and starting them as soon as they arrive in most areas.
• Peas grown from heirloom seeds can be used for drying and making soups throughout next winter. Peas in a pod and edible pod varieties provide garden-fresh flavor all summer. Generally plant 2-3 weeks before the last frost to allow them to germinate without rotting.
• Beets can be planted early in the Spring and successively until mid-summer. The germination rate may be slightly lower the earlier they are planted, however they are considered a cool season crop.
• Add interest to the garden with Organic Rainbow Chard seeds which provide a great taste but with colorful variety.
• Both summer squash and winter squash can be planted early and these varieties tend to be prolific producers. Home gardeners who raise chickens can plant fast growing zucchini to replace feed during the coming months.
• Heirloom tomato seeds should be planted early if they aren’t already. While they are not a typical cool weather crop, they require an early start. Consider some of the newly released Blue Streak cherry tomatoes for a fun twist on and old favorite.
• Loose leaf and head lettuce as well as spinach should be planted as soon as possible. Plant a variety as some tend to bolt earlier in the summer than others.
• Broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts should be started right away so they can be set outside before the weather warms up. They can also be planted again mid-summer to produce a fall crop.
Most cool weather crops can be planted early in the Spring as well as mid-Summer. Due to their limited availability many of the most popular varieties of organic heirloom seeds sell out early in the year. Gardeners who want to begin planting their favorite cool weather crops to enjoy year after year know the importance of getting a jump on Spring planting.