Ever since that one nice warm week near the end of March Old Man Winter has really been hanging on and making gardeners cranky, but it’s the last week of April and that means it’s time to plant hardy veggies.
Most folks think of the growing season as the days between the last spring frost and the first fall frost, but experienced gardeners know that all vegetables don’t need, or even like, to wait until the chance of frost is over. In fact peas, most root crops, and leaf crops prefer to be planted about a month before the last frost is expected.
What to Plant
So you don’t need to wait for the weather man to forecast warm weather. Get out there now and plant your peas, radishes, onions, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussel sprouts. Now is also the time to plant asparagus roots, as well as rhubarb, strawberry, and raspberry plants.
All of these plants will not only tolerate the frost and cooler weather, they actually prefer it. And the quality of harvest is much higher on these crops when they are planted early. However even cool weather crops need reasonably warm soil to germinate- at least in the 40’s for most crops. I tested my soil today and it was 55 degrees at 5:00 this afternoon. That’s plenty warm enough for germination of the cool season crops. And the weather is supposed to be mostly sunny for the next few days, so now would be an excellent time to plant.
You can also plant warm season crops like tomatoes and peppers now, if you protect them with Wall o’ Water plant protectors. These ingenious water filled enclosures can protect from frost down to 16 degrees when set up in tee pee fashion.
So choose a sunny spot, work in some Soil Enhancer or homemade compost, and let’s get planting. I know I’ll be out in my garden on Thursday. I can’t wait.