You are here

Spring Gardening

Ah, springtime in North Carolina. Time to get out in the garden and… wait! If you are planting a spring garden – meaning a garden you’d like to eat from in the spring and early summer – you need to start before the Super Bowl and try to get your first plants in by Valentine’s Day. Yes, the ground is hard and you’ll need to bundle up, but when you’re harvesting fresh, healthy food while everyone else is just starting a summer tomato patch, you’ll be glad you did.

What should you plant and when?

You will likely plant most of the vegetables in a spring garden between February and April. Some vegetables thrive better when planted earlier (peas, onions, berries.) Others do best planted late in the season (cucumbers, eggplant.)

Some vegetables can be planted almost any time through the season. Check the planting guide below for more information on individual plants. And remember, planting both seeds and plants means you can harvest more food more often. A garden is for eating all year round, after all.

Get the kids involved!

Take your children to the gardening store (Psst… Renfrow Hardware in Matthews is a great one! Ask David for some help exploring.) Go through the seed bins and check out the cool names of some of the varieties. Talk about what your kids might like to grow and eat… and try some vegetables they don’t know. Kohlrabi, anyone?

Every garden needs flowers (and so do the bees that pollinate them!), so start flower seeds inside in small cups to transplant to the garden when it warms up outside.The more the children take part, the more likely they’ll taste the broccoli you grew together.

  Planting dates   Inches Planting Min. soil  
  for seed or   between depth temp. Days to
Vegetables transplants (1) Suggested Cultivars plants (inches)
°F (2)
maturity
Asparagus (crowns) Nov. 15-Mar. 15 Mary Washington, Jersey Giant, Jersey Gem 15 6.0 2 years
Beans, snap Apr. 15-July 15 Tenderette, Harvester, Roma II (flat), Derby, Dandy 3 1.0 60 50-55
Beans, pole Apr. 15-July 1 Kentucky Wonder 191, Blue Lake Stringless, Romano, Kentucky Blue 6 1.0 50 65-70
Beets Mar. 15-Apr. 15; July 15-Aug. 15 Ruby Queen, Early Wonder, Red Ace, Pacemaker II 2 0.5 50 55-60
Broccoli (3) (4) Mar. 15-31; July 15-Aug. 15 DeCicco, Packman, Premium Crop, Green Duke, Emperor 18 0.5 45 70-80
Cabbage (plants)(3) (4) Feb. 1-Apr.1; Aug 1-15 Round Dutch, Early Jersey Wakefield, Red Express, Red Rookie, Sweetbase 12 0.5 45 70-80
Cabbage, Chinese Mar. 15-Apr. 1; Aug. 1-15 Pak Choi, Mei Ching, Jade Pagoda, China Pride 12 0.5 50 75-85
Carrots Feb. 15-Mar. 1; July 1-15 Danvers Half Long, Spartan Bonus, Little Finger, Thumbelina, Scarlet Nantes 2 0.25 45 85-95
Cauliflower (3) (4) Mar. 15-31; Aug 1-15 Early Snowball "A", Violet Queen, Snowcrown 18 0.5 45 55-65
Kale Mar. 1-Apr. 1; Aug. 15-Sept. 1 Green Curled Scotch, Early Siberian, Vates, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Blue Knight 6 0.5 45 40-50
Kohlrabi Mar. 1-Apr. 15; Aug. 1-Sept. 1 White Vienna, Grand Duke Hybrid 4 0.5 55 50-60
Lettuce (leaf) Mar. 1-Apr. 1; Aug. 1-Sept. 1 Grand Rapids, Salad Bowl, Buttercrunch, Red Sails, Romulus 6 0.25 45 40-50
Lettuce (head) Feb. 15-Mar. 15; Aug. 15-31 Great Lakes, Ithaca 10 0.25 45 70-85
Mustard Mar. 1-Apr. 1; Aug. 1-Sept. 15 Southern Giant Curled, Tendergreen, Savannah 2 0.5 40 30-40
Onions (seeds) Jan. 15-Mar. 31; Sept. 1-30 Texas 1015, Granex 33, Candy 4 0.5 50 130-150
Onions (sets or plants) Feb. 1-Mar. 15; Sept. 1-15 Ebenezer, Excell, Early Grano 4 60-80
Peas (edible-podded) Jan. 1-Mar. 15 Sugar Snap, Mammoth Melting Sugar, Snowbird, Sugar Bon 1 1.0 40 60-70
Peas, garden Jan. 1-Mar. 15 Wando, Green Arrow, Freezonian, Tall Telephone 1 1.0 40 65-70
Potatoes (Irish) Feb. 15-Apr. 1 Kennebec, Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold, Superior 10 5.0 40 95-120
Pumpkins Apr. 15-June 15 Autumn Gold, Howden's Field, Spookie (small), Baby Bear, Connecticut Field, Big Moon (big), Jack Be Little (dwarf) 48 1.5 70 115-120
Radishes Feb. 1-Apr. 1; Aug. 15-Sept. 15 Early Scarlet Globe, Cherry Belle, Snowbells, White Icicle 1 0.5 45 25-30
Radish, Diakon Feb. 1-Apr. 1; Aug. 15-Sept. 15 April Cross, H. N. Cross 4 0.5 50 60-75
Rutabagas Feb. 1-Apr. 1; July 1-Aug. 1 American Purple Top, Laurentian 4 0.5 60 70-80
Spinach Feb. 15-Mar. 15; Aug. 1-15 Hybrid 7, Dark Green Bloomsdale, Tyee Hybrid 6 0.5 45 50-60
Squash, winter Apr. 15-May 15; Aug. 1-15 Sweet Mama, Early Butternut, Spaghetti, Cream of the Crop, Table Ace, Lakota, Butterbush 36 1.0 60 70-95
Swiss chard Mar. 15-May 1 Lucullus, Rhubarb Chard 6 0.5 50 60-70
Turnips Feb. 1-Apr. 15; Aug. 1-31 Purple Top White Globe, Just Right, Tokyo Cross Hybrid, White Egg, All Top 2 0.5 60 55-60
Watermelons Apr. 15-June 1 Congo, Sweet Princess, Golden Crown, Yellow Doll, Tiger Baby 60 1.5 70 90-10

By Henry Owen with assistance from Kathy Metzo and Carol Adams