OK, I’m going to be honest with you- I spent the first 10 minutes of this post trying to figure out what I meant by the theme “early harvest ideas” that I came up with last fall! In fact, I’ve got half a post written about extending the harvest that I realized is next week’s theme.
Is this a senior moment or a blond moment?
So I’m settling on what specific varieties we can try growing to get an early harvest. Notice I wrote “try growing” because my experiences with attempting early harvests are definitely hit-or-miss.
In fact, my biggest successes are actually over-wintered things like spinach, kale, cauliflower, and green onions. We are mild enough here that when we get a few weeks of frigid temps (usually in the 20s, but occasionally in the teens), they just stop producing, but then they start up again when it warms. And when early spring arrives, they (especially the spinach) really start to produce.
One day I’d like to utilize cold frames to have some greens throughout the winter months, but in the meantime here are the things I like to get in the ground early (find this and more of what I aim to do in February and March in my Organic Vegetable Garden Checklist):
- Peas- traditionally these can be planted over president’s weekend, but my experience has been that they don’t really grow because most of the time our weather is still too cold. I did an experiment one year and planted a row in February and another a month later and by May there was no difference between them. So I don’t usually kill myself to get them in earlier than March.
- Spinach- since this doesn’t like the weather after May (it likes it really cool), I try to get this in as early as the seed will sprout to get a good crop in before it bolts from the heat. I plant in March under a row cover.
- Lettuce- I’ll start some winter varieties indoors this month to plant out in March under a row cover. Then I’ll plant spring varieties starting late March/early April.
What about you- how early to you start cool-weather crops? What do you plant?