While your vegetable garden may be under a mountain of snow right now, it’s not too early to start planning what you are going to grow!
Veggies are often termed as “cool season” that grow best in cooler temperatures and “warm season” that grow best in warmer temperatures. Some of the early “cool season” veggies to plant include broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, as well as onions, potatoes, peas, lettuce, spinach, beets, and swiss chard. These can generally be planted in late April to early May after your garden has been worked. It’s better to wait until mid to late May to plant “warm season” veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.
When exactly to plant cool season veggies depends on the year and the soil temperature. While the old adage is to plant your potatoes on Good Friday, oftentimes the ground can be too cold and wet, and the potatoes will end up rotting before they grow. One of the best garden tools you can invest in is a soil thermometer that will measure the bare soil temperature at least 6” down. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture also puts together a 6” soil temperature map at designated locations around the state that anyone can access.
Potatoes are best planted when the soil temperature is at least 45° F. Peas can also be seeded at that temperature as well. Lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard will also germinate under these cool temperatures but may take some time. Onions are best transplanted when outside air temperatures are around 50° F.
The “cole” crops such as broccoli, cabbage, and kohlrabi grow best when transplanted at temperatures around 60° F. If properly acclimated to cool temperatures, all these crops will take a light frost, but they will need protection from a hard frost.
When your garden is ready to plant, we have a wide selection of all the cool season veggies for you to grow! Don’t forget to brighten up your vegetable garden in the early season with some pops of color from cool loving pansies!