University of Missouri: Get Ready for Cool-Season Vegetables

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. Cool-season vegetables let the well-organized gardener enjoy harvest bounty in the spring and again in the fall. These early-season vegetables can tolerate light frost, so they’re a perfect addition to your spring garden. As with all things gardening, everything starts with the soil. “Be patient and wait until the soil is ready to be worked,” said Jennifer Schutter, horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension. “The soil is ready when a handful of soil crumbles when gently pressed.”

This is the time when you add nutrients and amendments to the soil. Schutter said phosphorus is important because cool soils tend to limit the availability of the mineral to early-planted vegetables.

Perennial cool-season vegetables-Plant perennial cool-season vegetables at the edge of the garden because they’re going to be there for some time. Schutter said rhubarb and asparagus are two of the most commonly planted cool-season perennial vegetables.

Annual cool-season root vegetables-This group includes radishes, beets, carrots, turnips, rutabagas and parsnips. Schutter said they require well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter.

Annual leafy cool-season vegetables-This group includes broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, mustard greens, collards, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts. While these can be planted by direct seeding, Schutter recommends using transplants.

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