I am hoping / guessing that the last of the severe arctic blasts are over for the season. Oh yes, it will still get cold, but I think the worst is over.
And we are close to the Spring Equinox. Is it March 21st this year? The equinox is when the day length equals the night length. And as we get more sunlight the earth will warm (for us in the Northern hemisphere).
So what can you start planting now knowing there will still be some cold, but the trend is towards warming? What plants can handle a litte frost, or temps a few degrees below freezing?
Just a short while ago I got you that video with Scotty Sunflowerseed. Scott direct seeds sunflowers right now; those little seedlings can handle a light freeze or frost. Click here to see that video.
Here is a list of other vegetables that can be put out now – or very soon. You need your soil temperature to be above 40 degrees F or so.
These are the cold hardiest plants;
Sunflowers, Spinach, Peas, Lettuce, Radish, and Mustard Greens, Tatsoi (an Asian green).
The next hardiest (these plants want a slightly warmer soil – maybe 50 degrees F or so?);
Broccoli, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chard, Cauliflower, Celery, Kohlrabi, Onions, Potatoes, Rutabaga, Beets, Carrots, and Parsnips
Some plants seem to do better with direct seeding such as the Sunflowers, Potatoes, and most of the legume family (Beans and Peas). Onions are usually transplanted starts of course.
Note that I start the others in seedling flats instead of putting them directly into the garden soil. Growing the seedlings in flats, and then transplanting out is recommended in the Bio-Intensive Gardening method. And it is recommended for a lot of good reasons.
Mel Bartholomew, the author of “Square Foot Gardening” used to be an efficiency engineer. (Mel’s book is available here). He did a series of time and motion studies comparing direct seeding versus starting in flats and transplanting – and can you guess which was most economical?
Starting seeds in flats and then transplanting out is actually much less work than direct seeding and thinning. It also saves on water and soil resources. Plus in small flats, you can more easily protect the seedlings from wind or cold.
Have you got any favorites I didn’t mention here? Please add yours to the list in the comment section and I’ll expand this article to include your notes.
Marjory Wildcraft is an Expedition Leader and Bioneer Blogger with The [Grow] Network, which is an online community that recognizes the wisdom of “homegrown food on every table.” Marjory has been featured as an expert on sustainable living by National Geographic, she is a speaker at Mother Earth News fairs, and is a returning guest on Coast to Coast AM. She is an author of several books, but is best known for her “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series, which is used by more than 300,000 homesteaders, survivalists, universities, and missionary organizations around the world.