March 5, 2012 — Catawba River District Voices

It’s been a busy few weeks around our farm as spring is in the air. We’ve been tilling and conditioning our soil and starting to sow some vegetable seeds. People look at me with a puzzled expression when they hear we’ve been planting.
“What can you grow now? Aren’t you supposed to wait till later in the year?” they ask. Not at all. There are different times and seasons to plant. Certain plants will grow really well in the cool but not freezing weather that early spring brings to the Southern Piedmont. Other plants love the heat. “Bring it on!” they say.
Timing is key
Knowing what to plant and when to plant will allow the gardener to have something to harvest all year round. There are numerous vegetables that you can get growing in your garden in the late winter. I personally love this time of year’s gardens. For one, it’s exciting to see new green emerging from the winter soil. New life! And then there are the various shades of green!  All the different lettuces and spinach are so beautiful as they grow into a mural of color. And lastly, I love not having to deal with as many bugs as summer weather usually brings.
Good cooler-weather crops
So what are the most popular cooler weather crops?  Here’s a partial list. I’ve also included the easiest way to grow this particular vegetable – either by seed, bulb or plant.

  • Lettuce  (so many varieties!) – seeds
  • Spinach – seeds
  • Radishes – seeds
  • Kale – seeds
  • Onions –  set (that’s the gardening name – it’s really onion bulbs)
  • Broccoli – plant
  • Cauliflower – plant
  • Cabbage – plant
  • Peas – shelling peas, sugar snap and snow peas – seed

If you’ve mastered all of these choices, go for something daring like arugula or potatoes or even horseradish!
So go get your seeds from your local store.  I’d love to know your favorite gardening shop.  We can compare notes … ’cause “That’s Farming”.