Let’s share some tricks and tips for a successful cool temperature spring vegetable season. Cool season vegetables are those which are tolerant of light frosts, however, as with all plants, cold tolerance is dependent on planting site, sun exposure, rain and wind exposure, as well as general climate. They often become sweeter as they mature in spring and be ready to eat before the heat of summer.
The three main groups of cool season vegetables are the Brassicas, Root Vegetables, and the Leafy Greens. Brassica is a genus which contains Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbages, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, and Kales. The second group are root vegetables, such as edible Alliums (Onion, Garlic, Leeks, Shallots, Chives, and Garlic Chives) Carrots, Potatoes, Turnips, Radishes, Parsnips, and Beets. The last group contains the non-Brassica leafy greens, such as Lettuce, Arugula, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Mizuna, and Mustard greens. And then there are Peas, members of the legume family. Remember to add supports when you plant. TIP: Some varieties of cool season vegetables can withstand a bit more cold. Density Lettuce, Savoy Cabbage, and Fordhook Chard are especially cold hardy varieties.
The first step is to choose vegetables that you like to eat! The next step is to amend your soil if needed. We recommend Harvest Supreme if you have poor soil and want to invigorate your beds. Add one of our organic Vegetable fertilizers to replenish nutrients for a new growing season.
One of the biggest problem is rabbits and deer nibbling young vegetable starts. For this we recommend Plantskydd repellant, which is a OMRI certified organic repellant that works on deer, rabbits, and voles. When properly and consistently applied, the scent naturally deters foraging animals. For hard to deter critters you may wish to use this product in combination with a row cover, which is an another simple and effective way to deter foragers. If you’re battling rabbits, be sure to weigh down the edges of the fabric so they can’t crawl underneath!
Another important tip is to mulch around the base of your vegetables once they’re planted. This not only adds to the aesthetics, it is also important for preventing weeds and keeping moisture in. Just make sure not to mound mulch around the base of the plants as this traps too much moisture around the stem and prevents proper airflow around the base of the plant. Generally you want to leave an inch between the base of your plants and the mulch. It is also important that you mulch to a sufficient depth, 1-2 inches of mulch is ideal.