April is here and there are seven crops you should plant now in the vegetable garden. We are finally seeing some breaks in the rain so I am taking advantage of it and getting my soil ready and planting some cool season crops. So what do I mean by cool season crops? Cool season crops are vegetables that grow best when the weather is cooler from March to May and then again from late August to October. Crops such as peas, broad beans, radishes, lettuce, spinach, kale and cilantro are examples of common cool season crops.
If you have been following along you will remember I planted some overwintering spinach. Its now growing quickly along with new plantings of lettuce, peas and mesclun greens. This bed will be used for some quick salad green crops and then be planted with sweet potatoes in June. Its all about timing as cool season crops will often bolt and go to seed by June so they can come out and a second crop can go in.
This week I planted one of the small raised beds by the greenhouse with pea and spinach seedlings. I have so many plants that I grew to sell but with the weather being so awful people are not buying. I will use this bed to grow a good crop of peas as it takes a lot of plants to have a large harvest of peas. In between each row I have radishes planted. One row is already up and I will plant successively so I have radishes to harvest over the next two months. Radishes are ready to harvest in about 28 days from seed. I might as well take advantage of the space in between the peas while the plants are small. In the bed beside the peas I have planted rows of spinach seedlings and cilantro. Once these two crops are done I will be planting some flowers there.
A few kale plants survived the winter. They were a fall planting from last year that struggled in this garden. Now the plants look healthy and ready for new spring growth. Unfortunately yesterday marked the appearance of the cabbage moth so I will be watching for her as she tries to lay eggs on my kale plants. It’s time to bring out the floating row covers and protect the kale plants for the next few months. Floating row covers keep the cabbage moth from getting near the plants but let water and sunlight through.
Garlic is well on its way now that the weather has warmed up. I planted onion sets in between the garlic this year and the tips are starting to show above the soil this week.
So remember it’s time for cool season crops to go in. Plant your peas, kale, cilantro, lettuce, spinach and radishes now so you can enjoy them. Onion sets can also be planted any time now so you have a harvest in July. Don’t let the weather get you down. Your plants love the rain and will need little watering, right? Plant on a day right before rain is forecast. Use the rain to your advantage. I have yet to water anything I have planted as the soil is moist and mother nature is watering it for me.