It's spring, and it's time to get back in the garden! Are you gardening this year? Whether you have a tiny windowbox or a half acre of land, there are a few things that should be planted right now, while the weather is still chilly and the earth is just warming up.
This of course applies mostly to those of us in the Northeast, Midwest, and Northwest, where it's still pretty chilly. If you're in the Southern or desert states or in California then you probably were planting these things over the winter.
Here are a few garden favorites that need to be planted now, before it gets any warmer. These things thrive on cold weather, and go limp with too much heat. Most of these actually need cooler weather to germinate; if you wait until May or June to plant you may not get much to come up.
All of these can be grown in a little garden box, too; if you have a little box on your windowsill or on your porch or balcony, fill it up with good potting soil, some compost, and pop in just a few seeds. It's so encouraging to see them come up!
• Peas - Peas need cold weather to germinate, and they should be in the ground as soon as it can be worked. In some parts of the country gardeners scrape away the snow to plant their peas! Sugar snap peas, snow peas, and traditional English peas are all good to grow.
• Radishes - Radishes are one of the quickest, easiest things to grow. Pop in a little row of radish seeds, and in about 3 to 4 weeks you'll already have radishes to encourage you on in your gardening tasks.
• Carrots - Plant your carrot seeds now, and you'll have fresh carrots by late May!
• Spinach and lettuce - Spinach, arugula, and other greens just love cool weather. They really are early spring and late fall crops, so get them going now before the weather gets any warmer.
• Herbs from seed - This is a good time to scatter dill seed and chive seed, just to get it going.
Next week we'll talk about starting seeds for later summer crops like tomatoes and eggplant. Those are the sorts of crops that shouldn't go outside until after your frost-free date, which, depending on your zone, is anywhere from May to June.
Are you gardening this year? Have you put anything in the ground yet? What are you growing?
(Images: Faith Durand)