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Even if you live further north, did you order your seeds? If not, no matter. You can still get seeds locally and from some of the online sites or catalogs, but think act quickly. I buy much of my seed from a local nursery which still has a row of antique boxes along the back wall. They also know what performs well in my area.
Here, we direct sow seeds of spinach, radish, lettuce, kale, chard, carrots, turnips, beets, onion sets and even Asian greens, like bok choy or tatsoi. Potatoes should be planted by St. Patrick’s Day which is a good way to remember. For a full list of vegetable planting dates, check the local guides from your County Extension office. Where I live, we have such a short cool season even in a normal spring, it is best to start with cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as plants. You can probably find if you didn’t already start seeds indoors. There will be more freezes so have row covers ready. Row covers also discourage insects.
Now is also the time to start your tomato, eggplant and pepper seeds indoors. Some years, I start seeds, while in others, I buy plants. We’re lucky to have numerous local sources for tomatoes, but I find the eggplant pickings pretty slim. To start eggplant seeds, purchase a heat mat to warm the seeds from the bottom for better germination.
Here are some of my seed mainstays along with a few, new-to-me varieties. I’m putting varieties in single quotes to make them easier to differentiate although many vegetables are open pollinated heirlooms and not truly cultivars.
These are just some my personal favorites, but the list of varieties you can grow goes on and on. I hope everyone tries a bit of cold crop gardening this spring.
When I plant the vegetables, I also plant alongside them some cooler weather flowers like borage, fragrant stock, violas, poppies, calendula, nasturtiums and larkspur. Vegetable gardens need flowers too.