It is coming! The signs of winter are slowly vanishing with the rain. Although backyards are looking brown and void of life, the time for new growth is fast approaching. It is this time of year when you have such high hopes and plans for the spring and summer. Visions of expanding perennial beds or of increasing the yield of backyard vegetable crops are running through my mind. Whatever your goals are for this year I have some thoughts to share that may make you go hmmmmm…
It is making a comeback… the backyard vegetable patch. And the backyard vegetable patch is keeping up with the times, forever evolving with modern living. It is wonderful if you have a wide-open space to plant a plentiful array of vegetables and herbs, however, it is not a necessity.
Here are a few ideas of early season crops for your area. All three of these crops can be planted in the same bed. Try not to plant taller crops around them, for this will block out vital sunlight.
Raw or cooked, onions are one of the most used vegetables to add flavor to dishes around the world. This cool weather crop can be planted early in the season (late April – Early May depending on weather and zoning). Onions are easily grown if started from seedlings. Plant them in a sunny location with loose, fertile, well-drained soil. If you are still on the fence, know that pests and disease rarely bother onions and some even believe that they help deter pests from other nearby plants. For under $2 you can start dozens of low maintenance, easy to store onions.
Another cool weather crop to get you going is the Beet. Beets can be used fresh or preserved. They are easy to grow in a sunny spot in soil rich with organic matter. This vegetable offers endless health benefits! The Beet is rich in anti-carcinogens, carotenoids, and folic acid.
Leaf by leaf or by the head, lettuce is a low maintenance easy to grow cool crop. This crop requires ample amounts of water and sunny conditions. Its low caloric value; calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and folic acid make it a healthy addition to any meal. With so many varieties offering an assortment of flavours, textures, and colours, your salads will surely impress!!
Other cool weather crops are also available for this area. Be sure, no matter what you are planting, to follow the specific variety instructions located on the growing tag. Be sure to visit the Tips Section on the website so see how to prepare your garden for planting.
More and more gardeners of all kinds are dabbling in edible gardens. Whether it is a field, a 4’ by 4’ raised vegetable bed, a container garden, or a tiered window box display you feel a sense of accomplishment and excitement to harvest and make use of crops you have grown.