If you left your garden planning to the very last minute or haven’t had as much success as you’d like with your seedlings, there is still hope you can have a late-spring bounty. There is a wide assortment of vegetables you can plant now, for a delicious spring harvest.
Keep in mind: If you are planting now, you need to make sure the seeds are for vegetables that will be able to handle the frost. If necessary, consider starting seeds indoors to speed things up.
1. Cauliflower – This vegetable can be started indoors, or kept in a greenhouse until frost is gone. Cauliflower can take up to 75 days until it is ready for harvesting, if you start from seeds.
2. Cucumbers – These vegetables can be started inside, then when the seedlings are strong enough, and the frost is gone, they can be replanted outside. Many varieties of cucumbers can be ready to eat in only 60 days.
3. Lettuce – You can start lettuce under a cold frame, but in a tray to make it easier to transplant into the main garden after the frost. Or you can sow lettuce under fleece tunnels or “cloches.” Lettuce can take up to 60 days to mature. Or, pick leaf lettuce as “baby” lettuce for an even earlier harvest.
4. Radishes – This one can grow well under glass, or in cold frames. By planting now, you will be able to enjoy them in your first fresh salad of the year. You can also sow them outside under “cloches” or fleece tunnels as well. Some early varieties of radishes can take only 22 days to mature, while some other varieties can take six to eight weeks.
5. Kale – Prepare the soil well, and then sow kale seeds. This will be a late spring, or early summer crop. Kale only takes two months (or less) to mature. It is a biennial plant you can continue to enjoy.
6. Peas and Turnips – Both of these vegetables can have their seeds sown directly into the soil now. Peas can take up to 70 days to mature, while turnips can take 30 to 60 days before ready to harvest.
7. Spinach – Make sure the soil has a lot of organic matter mixed in. You can sow spinach seeds directly into the ground now, once the soil is ready. Spinach will take around two months to mature. Or, as with lettuce, pick the baby spinach for an earlier crop.
8. Swiss chard – A very colorful vegetable, Swiss chard brings life to your early garden. You can even grow chard in your flower garden. This tasty relative to the beet only takes four to six weeks to mature.
9. Dill – Herbs can be started in containers or sown right into the soil now. You must make sure the soil is prepared before sowing. Dill only takes two months before fully mature.
10. Kohlrabi — Not a popular vegetable but it is unusual, fast-growing and its seeds can be sown directly into the soil at this time. It is a lovely purple or green vegetable and seems to resemble a beet – except that it grows above ground. It is rich in vitamins A, C and K. Kohlrabi only takes 38 days to mature.
Remember, even if you’re getting a late start this year with your garden planting, it doesn’t mean that you have to go without gardening this season. As a worst-case scenario, you can always purchase starts from your local nursery or greenhouse. But there are still many vegetables you can plant from seed — just pay close attention to your frost dates and hardiness zones, and choose a few of the many spring vegetables with fast-growing times.
Which vegetables would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the section below: