How to Garden Vegetables in the Spring

Three Methods:Sowing Vegetables in the SpringMoving Your Vegetables OutsideQuick Cropping Vegetables for Spring Harvesting

Spring is the time to both sow and harvest vegetables in your garden. You can start sowing and planting out (which moving potted plants to vegetable plots) after all danger of frost has passed. Vegetables planted the year before may be ready to be harvested by springtime. You can also ‘quick crop’ vegetables to produce a speedy harvest (this is covered in Method 3).

Method 1
Sowing Vegetables in the Spring

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    Try to wait to sow crops until the last chances of frost have passed. It’s usually a good idea to wait until all danger of frost has passed to sow your vegetables. Later sowings usually catch up with earlier sowings, so waiting to plant will most likely not hurt your harvest. Warmer months also soften up the ground, making it easier to work the soil and sow your vegetables.
    • Some crops, like carrots or peas, can be sown before the last frosts.
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    Consider sowing your seeds indoors. You can also start sowing your seeds indoors by placing a pot on a window ledge or in a greenhouse. Indoor temperatures provide a milder climate for young seedlings.
    • However, seedlings that are grown indoors will need to be “hardened off” (gradually adjusted to outdoor climates) rather than just being moved outdoors when the weather is nice.
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    Prepare the vegetable begs regardless of whether or not your sow your seeds outside. If you are sowing indoors, you can still prepare the outdoor beds in the early spring. To do this:
    • Weed the area and incorporate plenty of well-rotted manure into the soil.
    • Improve drainage if the area is soggy by incorporating some grit into the soil or raising the beds.
    • If you plan to plant perennial vegetables, you might incorporate a slow release feed such as bonemeal.
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    Protect your outdoor vegetables from pests. Slugs and snails can present a serious threat to your seedlings and young plants. There are various methods you can use to protect your plants from these pests, including:
    • Laying pellets, setting traps, or surrounding your plants with barriers such as copper tape.
    • You can also check your plants for snails and slugs each day and remove these pests from your plants when you find them.
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    Place mulch over your vegetables when the harvest is over and the winter is coming. Some plants will not produce their first year but will be ready to produce the next spring. If this is the case with your plants, protect them from the cold of winter by covering them in a thick layer of mulch. Brush the mulch aside in the early spring.
    • Plants that may not produce their first year include cabbage and asparagus.

Method 2
Moving Your Vegetables Outside

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    Understand what ‘planting out’ refers to. ‘Planting out’ means moving your indoor potted plants to outdoor vegetable beds. The process involves transferring pot grown seedlings, or ones grown indoors or under glass, to the outside garden or vegetable plot. You can start planting out vegetables in early spring but it’s usually better to wait until later springtime when the frosts have passed.
    • Your plants will be slower to grow in the cooler temperatures so there’s little benefit in putting them out earlier in the season.
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    Help your plants to “harden off”. If you’ve sown vegetables indoors, give them some time to adjust to life outdoors by ‘hardening off’. This process lets your plants acclimatize to the moving air, different humidity, and temperatures of the outside world. When you simply place these types of plants outdoors without going through the hardening off process, their development can be detrimentally affected. To harden plants off:
    • Move plants sown inside your home to a cooler space such as an unheated greenhouse. You can leave your plants outside during the day but bring them in at night.
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    Plant your indoor plants in your outdoor vegetable garden when the soil has gotten soft. You can make your life much easier—and your plant’s life more pleasant—when you plant your vegetables when the soil is easy to work with. Avoid gardening if the ground is still cold and hard.

Method 3
Quick Cropping Vegetables for Spring Harvesting

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    Be aware that there are some vegetable plants that you can ‘quick crop’. Quick cropping is when you sow very fast growing vegetables and harvest them within a few weeks time. The cooler temperatures in Spring will often mean they aren’t as fast as they could be later in the year but some will be available for harvest in only a few weeks.
    • These include beetroot, radishes, kale and more unusual varieties such as kohlrabi, rocket and bok choi.
    • In some cases you will only be able to harvest the baby versions of these vegetables after this amount of time.
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    Consider planting beetroot. Beetroot can be planted in late winter but grows faster when it is planted in mid-spring. Some varieties will be ready for harvesting about 90 days from sowing, especially if you start them off under cloche or fleece protection.
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    Try growing quick crop salad. Quick cropping salad leaves, like rocket, can be grown and harvested within a few weeks. You can cloche-protect late summer sowings of rocket for cropping through the winter and into spring. Otherwise sow in spring and expect to crop baby leaves within four or five weeks. for cropping baby leaves within 4-5 weeks.[1]
    • Lamb’s lettuce (corn salad) is more slow growing but can be planted in November for spring greenery. Winter sown lettuces need protecting from cold wind (a polytunnel works well).


  • If you want to be able to harvest vegetables in the springtime you can either plant overwintering varieties the year before or plant very fast growing varieties to sow and harvest within a few weeks.
  • You can also grow salad vegetables indoors for year-round cropping. The best way to ensure a long harvest is to sow salad leaves or your crop like radishes or beetroot every 2 or 3 weeks. If you start in early spring or even late winter, this will ensure you can continually harvest vegetables through the springtime.
  • Some wild vegetables are available for foraging in the springtime. Springtime wild vegetables include nettles, fiddlehead ferns, and ramps. Equip yourself with several good nature guide books before trying to identify these for the first time.

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