Spring Vegetable Secrets: Tips for Planning a Bountiful Garden

Bob Cain shares tips on how to use planning to set up a bountiful Spring vegetable garden.
Trees in Winter with Tim Kohlhauff

Episode Description of Spring Vegetable Secrets

In this episode of “The Evergreen Thumb,” Bob Cain discusses how to plan to create a successful Spring vegetable garden. He focuses on soil testing, succession planting, and planting the right plants in the right temperatures. Bob gives practical tips for understanding what plants to direct sow, and what plants to grow indoors. He demystifies soil testing, discussing its importance in understanding soil health, and provides tips on how to improve soil fertility.

Then, he delves into the concept of succession planting and explores how staggered planting schedules can prolong harvests and maximize yields throughout the growing season. Along the way, he shares expert insights, real-life examples, and actionable advice to empower listeners to cultivate thriving gardens and enjoy a plentiful harvest. Tune in to unlock the secrets of Spring vegetable garden planning and elevate your growing experience!

Bob Cain has been a WSU Extension Master Gardener in Clallam County, Washington since 2009 . He is a lifelong vegetable grower with gardening experience in Scotland, Ireland, Colorado, and Western Washington. He has been the manager of the Woodcock Demonstration Garden in Sequim for 7 years. Bob is also Past President, Vice President, and Board member of the Clallam MG Foundation. Currently, he is the vegetable lead at the Woodcock Garden, where all produce goes to the local food bank. He holds undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology and Masters and Doctorate in Organic Chemistry.

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Transcript of Spring Vegetable Garden

[00:00:00] Erin Landon: Welcome to the Evergreen Thumb episode 18. Today, Bob Cain is here to talk to us about Spring vegetable gardening. Bob has been a WSU Extension Master Gardener in Clallam County, Washington, since 2009. He’s a lifelong vegetable grower with gardening experience in Scotland, Ireland, Colorado, and Western Washington.

He has been the manager of the Woodcock Demonstration Garden in Sequim for seven years. He is also the past president, vice president, and board member of the Clallam Master Gardener Foundation. Currently, he is the vegetable lead at the Woodcock Garden where all the produce goes to their local food bank. He holds undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biology and master’s and doctorate degrees in organic chemistry.

Before Bob joins us to talk about vegetable gardening, we’re going to go over the April gardening calendar.

April Gardening Calendar


Consider starting a gardening journal. This is a great way to document what you did, what worked, and what didn’t so that the following year you can have a record, of everything you did and what you might need to do differently.

And you can use a soil thermometer to help, you know when to plant vegetables. When the soil is consistently above 45 degrees, it’s time to plant some cool-season vegetables. Once it achieves 60 degrees Fahrenheit, then some warm-season vegetables can be planted like beans and corn. Likely those warm-season vegetables will be May or later if you were in Western Washington.

Let’s see, another planting item is to prepare the soil for Spring planting, incorporate organic material and other amendments, using the results of the soil test you hopefully had done. Prepare raised beds in areas where cold soils and poor drainage are a problem and incorporate generous amounts of organic material into them.


allow the foliage of Spring flowering bulbs to brown and die down before removing them. Apply fertilizer, manure, or compost to cane berries and bush berries. So like gooseberries, currants, blueberries, Raspberries blackberries, marionberries, there’s lots of them. Place compost or composted manure around perennial vegetables like asparagus and rhubarb.

You can cut back ornamental grasses now to a few inches above the ground level. Cover transplants to protect against late Spring frosts. In the west of the Cascades, you can prune and shape or thin Spring blooming shrubs and trees after the blossoms fade. And in the central to eastern side of the mountains you can prune your deciduous trees and shrubs.

Planting and propagation

You can plant gladioli, hardy transplants like alyssum, phlox, and marigolds if weather and soil conditions permit. It’s a great time to start vegetables if you have a greenhouse or even a window in your house. You can start vegetable starts and Bob will talk about this some as well.

You can start tomatoes, peppers, brassicas like Broccoli and Brussels sprouts, peas, and lettuce can all be started indoors. In pest monitoring and management clean up hiding places for slugs and sow bugs and millipedes. Barriers and traps are the least toxic option for slugs. Be sure to read and follow all label directions before applying any sort of chemical control or using baits.

Monitor strawberries for spittlebugs and aphids, and if present, wash them off with water or use insecticidal soap as a contact spray. Again, make sure to follow label instructions. If necessary, spray apples and pears when buds appear for scab. Use floating row covers to keep insects such as beetle leaf miners, cabbage maggot flies, and carrot rust flies away from susceptible crops.

And if you’d like to know more about managing pests and diseases in the vegetable garden, be sure to check out episode 17 with Laurel Moulton, who talked about that exclusively. Prevent dampening off of seedlings by providing adequate ventilation. So they need good airflow. Manage weeds while they’re small and actively growing with light cultivation because once this weed has gone to bud herbicides are less effective.

And that pretty much covers the April gardening calendar.

All right, it’s time to move on to our guest Bob Cain. Bob, thanks for joining me today. Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your gardening experience?

[00:05:06] Bob Cain: Okay. My name is Bob Cain. I’ve been vegetable gardening since my early teens, in Scotland, Western Ireland, Colorado, and Washington State.

So I have quite a bit of experience. I’ve been a master gardener since 2009. I’ve been part of the Master Gardener Foundation here as well as active in most of the community outreach, programs, and educational deliveries here.

How to Plan for a Successful Spring Vegetable Garden

[00:05:40] Erin Landon: Okay, so today we’re talking about Spring vegetable gardening. So let’s start with some of the basics about, planning for the vegetable garden.

What kind of planning is key?

[00:05:56] Bob Cain: One thing before I get started, since I garden west of the Cascades on the Olympic Peninsula, in Sequim actually, any suggestions I might make should still be applicable east of the mountains, but your starting date for some of the outdoor activities may be a little bit later in the season. Okay, planning.

Planning is important in just about everything we do. Probably the first thing you want to do is review last year’s garden journal if you have one. See what worked and what did not. This will give you some idea of things you may want to replant again this year, or things you might not, and try something new.

So we’ll review where you planted your crops last year and try to change the crop in that location for this year. In other words, practice good crop rotation. Consider if anything’s changed in your garden. Did you plant a tree? Plant a hedge that might influence, what you might plant in the shade of that?

I try to choose in general when planning quick maturing plants for the Spring season. Seed catalogs are a great help in the selection of varieties. And over here, and I would imagine probably in Eastern Washington as well, you should consider varieties with the shortest possible number of days to maturity as shown on the seed packet.

This is, this is kind of essential because you want to free up that real estate for warm-season crops coming on afterward. Planning is always a fun activity.

How Local Climates and Hardiness Zones Affect Garden Planning

[00:07:50] Erin Landon: So how does your, how does a local climate or in the hardiness zones affect planning for your garden?

[00:07:58] Bob Cain: Okay, the local climate is going to vary tremendously across the state.

but climate and general environmental conditions are critical for successful Spring vegetable growing. When planning the Spring garden, Some people may use USDA Hardiness Zones. I don’t in particular. The Hardiness Zones are a measure of the extreme Winter temperature experienced in a particular area.

For my area in Sequim, we are Zone 8B. This means, our minimum temperatures are generally about 15 Fahrenheit. Seattle is zone 9A, and they have a minimum Winter temperature of about 20 Fahrenheit, although their zone, I believe, may be changed. There was some talk earlier in the year that, because of the expansion of Seattle and all the concrete, they may, raise it to a warmer level.

Now, if you’re east of the mountains, Spokane, for example, is zone 7a, which has a minimum Winter temperature of down around zero. So basically, with the U. S. hardiness zones, the higher the number, you’re going to experience less chill in the Winter than you would at a lower number. But more important, especially for vegetable gardening, you’re is the date of the last frost.

This is critical to determine Spring planting. The date of the last frost indicates when you can direct sow seeds outside in the ground, but also when you can plant indoors to grow transplants to a size suitable for planting at or just before the last frost date. The WSU publication EM057E, Home Vegetable Gardening in Washington, will give you a lot of data on that and it’s free, it’s free on the web.

So it’s easy to get hold of. I’ll give you some examples of last frost dates. For Sequim, the last frost date given is mid-April to early May. For Seattle, mid-March. And for Spokane, early to mid-May. Again, these are averages. I have had a killing frost here in late April. So you really need to keep an eye on the weather forecast as well.

Remember that these dates will vary tremendously with your local microclimate and the altitude above sea level at which you are gardening. If you’re in doubt, your local extension office, local nurseries, past garden journals, or talking to other master gardeners, should narrow that date down substantially for you.

Now the main issue is that if you plant too early, you’re exposing your plants to potentially a hard frost, or if you inadequately harden off your transplants, by exposing them to outside temperatures. Both of these can lead to a pause in growth and can also cause tissue damage and loss, especially in leafy greens.

Local climates are always variable and surprising. For example, 15 miles west of me here, they get twice the rainfall I do. And Forks, further over west, gets way more, since they’re in the rainforest. Here in Sequim, I usually get little, if any, rain from May through late September. So it varies depending on where you are.

[00:12:12] Erin Landon: Definitely. I’m also in zone 8b, but my last frost or first, yeah, my last frost date isn’t until mid-May. So that kind of gives us an example of how even though it’s the same USDA hardiness zone, the last frost date can vary significantly.

[00:12:31] Bob Cain: Yeah, I mean, it can be quite significant. I have a couple of friends who live perhaps two or three miles as the crow flies from me.

Our microclimates are so different, that we can see some days five-degree differences in temperature between us.

[00:12:50] Erin Landon: And that’s another thing is that when you’re thinking of microclimates, think of if you have bodies of water that can affect you. We’re in the Chehalis River Valley, so we’ve got wind that comes up from the Bay, up the river.

And so, yeah, those, we are a little bit warmer here.

[00:13:13] Bob Cain: Yeah, the main thing we have to look out for here, especially in the Spring, is the Fraser River outflow, which brings real cold weather straight down over Whatcom County down to us.

When to Start Preparing for Spring Vegetable Garden Planting

[00:13:27] Erin Landon: So, what is the ideal time to start preparing for Spring planting?

[00:13:32] Bob Cain: That’s a good, A very good question. Depends on a lot of factors.

If we consider most of the vegetable plants we’re planting, they require three things. Light, temperature, and moisture to get successful germination outside and prevent rotting and seed loss. Which is a waste of money and a waste of time. So really when you’re determining your time to plant, don’t really think about planting if the soil is really super saturated and waterlogged, your seeds are not going to enjoy that too much.

Many seed packets will actually give you some information and recommendations on when to plant, and some catalogs actually produce lists of when to plant indoors in addition to what’s in the seed packet. And the recommendations typically for indoor planting, again, are relative to your last frost dates.

Botanical Interests, for example, has a very good, table at the back of their catalog, which illustrates this. But, the most important date for outside seed sowing is really dependent on when the soil temperature reaches a sustainable temperature of around 40 to 45 degrees, depending on what you’re planting.

And you can then sow many of your hardy Spring vegetables at that point. It’s prudent, however, to have some kind of cover or, low tunnel, something like that, just in case of snow, just in case a cold snap is forecast and you can put something over your seedlings as they emerge. on March 5th this week, my raised beds were still registering 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

So I’m not planting anything outside at the moment with one or two exceptions. When you’re planting outside, The seed packet will generally give you a minimum temperature for germination. For Spring vegetables you’re looking at a range of about 40 to 45 degrees as a minimum starting point. There are vegetables that will go a little bit lower than that, such as fava beans, spinach, and some others.

But typically between 45, and around 45 degrees in the Spring, when your soil is fairly constantly at that temperature, you can plant Fava beans, spinach, radish, carrots, chard, lettuce, peas, and quite a few brassicas.

How to Prepare Your Soil

[00:16:34] Erin Landon: Okay, so let’s talk about soil preparation.

[00:16:39] Bob Cain: Okay, soil prep. Soil preparation is very, very important.

Basically, your whole gardening depends on soil. Soil is really the heart of your garden. If you have good soil, you can grow good Spring vegetables. If you haven’t sampled your soil in the last, say, two to three years, it’s probably worth considering getting a soil sample done. And typically sampling, the best time to do that would be early in the Spring, about late February into March.

The problem is that many nutrients, especially nitrogen, can wash out during the rainy season because they’re water-soluble. Before sampling, you’re going to need to clear the area you’re sampling. It should be free of weeds, remove debris, and if it’s not too wet, fork it over a little bit to reduce the soil compaction.

You’re then going to need to take multiple samples. For example, let’s say you’re sampling three raised beds. You need to take samples from each of the raised beds, probably multiple ones, perhaps five or six, using a soil auger or a trowel. Combine those in a bucket. Mix them up and your sample is ready to go for testing.

Full instructions should be available at your local conservation district and sample turnaround is typically at the moment about three weeks. Remember to include your submission with the sample. The purpose, the sample is being submitted for. If it’s for an orchard, say orchard. If it’s for a vegetable garden, say vegetable garden.

Because the recommendations you will get will be based on the use that you have stated. We had a change here in Clallam County two years ago. The conservation district changed the laboratory for testing. And they now require much more sample. Actually, we have to submit two pounds of soil sample for an accurate testing now.

Now, when you get the results back, what do you do? The result sheets will inform you of any basic nutrient deficiencies. And what you can do to get those back in order to achieve premium growth. The results will also tell you the major nutrients currently present in your soil and what you need to add to replace those consed by your crops last year.

You’ll also get an idea of the level of organic matter in your soil and an estimate of soil pH. The soil pH will tell you whether you need to add lime or not. Following the recommendations given by the testing lab will help you to achieve good soil fertility. You can amend with an organic fertilizer or a synthetic one, but remember that amending with organic fertilizers is typically a longer-term project because basically they are slow release and they release their nutrients over time.

Advantages of Starting Seeds Indoors

[00:20:20] Erin Landon: So what are some of the advantages of starting seeds indoors?

[00:20:24] Bob Cain: Now basic indoor seed starting basically boils down to a container with some potting soil in it. Some seeds, a source of light, and some water. The advantage is that transplants produced inside in this way are very good at giving you a head start, in the growing season and may well be ready before some of those seeds that you planted outside.

That’s assuming the soil has finally warmed up at that point. Sowing the seeds in the potting soil is the first step, and then gently water. Then you’re going to place it under some kind of light source. In an airy position, such as perhaps a large south-facing window. and you need to keep the soil surface moist.

Adding supplemental light, artificial light may be necessary because you’re going to try to give the seedlings 12 to 14 hours of light per day, which essentially mimics what will be happening outside. Most plants don’t react well to light levels less than 10 hours per day. And we crossed that threshold on let me think, February the 12th this year.

So, after February 12th this year, we had more than 10 hours of daylight. Better still, if you can afford it, is to place them under an inexpensive, full spectrum, LED adjustable grow light system. This can be raised and lowered depending on the height of the seedlings at the particular time you’re watering or you’re looking at them.

The main problem is that not enough light has a tendency to produce tall leggy seedlings, which It’s not necessarily a bad thing, they will still produce crops, but if you can keep them small, relative to the root ball, then that’s better. Now, to jump forward from Spring vegetables, for warm season plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and eggplants, you may need to add some additional equipment such as a heat mat under the growing tray to get optimum germination, since their minimum germination temperatures are much higher than you would have for Spring vegetables.

When your seeds are about the four to six-leaf stage, and remember the first two leaves are not true leaves, move your seedlings to bigger pots. When they’ve grown to transplantable size, start exposing them to outside temperatures, a process called hardening off, before planting so they don’t suffer a growth check when exposed to outside temperatures.

How to know Which Vegetables to Direct Sow or Start Indoors

[00:23:42] Erin Landon: So are there specific vegetables or specific seeds that are better to direct sow into the garden instead of starting them indoors?

[00:23:52] Bob Cain: Yeah, there’s a number of things that you can sow directly into the garden. In general, for Spring vegetable sowing, your choice is either to raise seedlings to transplant size inside or direct sow.

Now, in some cases, some vegetables are not very amenable to transplanting and sometimes on the seed packet, if you look at indoor planting on the back of the packet, it will say not recommended. Typically this tends to be root crops that have very long tap roots. It’s not typically things like carrots, beets, turnips. Planting them directly into the soil, when the light levels and the soil temperature are appropriate, will allow that taproot to expand to its maximum length and give you a much better crop.

So things like beets, carrots, turnips. Daikon radish, which is much larger than the normal radish, parsnips, and things like that you should consider planting out directly into the soil when conditions are appropriate.

Critical Factors for a Successful Spring Vegetable Garden

[00:25:22] Erin Landon: Okay, so what are some of the critical factors to success in a Spring vegetable garden?

[00:25:31] Bob Cain: That’s a good one. Well, it covers a lot of sins. There are a number of challenges that you face as a Spring gardener. There’s the climate, there’s your environmental conditions. There’s the weather and several other things. You always have to be prepared for an unexpected cold snap, perhaps torrential rain, just as your seedlings are emerging, and strong winds because strong winds will lower temperature and you can, you can get problems there too.

Common problems you need to overcome to be successful are two. Avoid planting too early. That’s probably one of the cardinal sins of, Spring vegetable planting. And not acclimatizing transplants before setting them out, because what you may find is you plant them out, conditions are not ideal, they get a growth check, and they may just sit there and do nothing for several weeks.

The other problem you can face is digging the soil too early, especially clay. Not only does it give the weeds a bigger window to start going, which they will, if you’re on clay, if you break it up when the moisture content is too high, it will produce large lumps or clods and when these dry it’s nearly impossible to break them up to form any kind of suitable, seed bed.

In most cases, success in Spring vegetable gardening is to take a measured, patient, approach. I know it’s tough after being cooped up inside waiting on the new growing season but be patient. All things will come.

[00:27:38] Erin Landon: That’s really hard this time of year.

[00:27:40] Bob Cain: Yeah.

Common Mistakes that New Vegetable Gardeners Make

[00:27:41] Erin Landon: Patience. So what are some common mistakes that new vegetable gardeners tend to make?

[00:27:49] Bob Cain: Okay, common mistakes in Spring vegetable garden, apart from the ones I’ve mentioned, where your temperature is wrong, the weather’s wrong, and things like that is, in some cases, not being prepared for an unexpected cold snap, particularly with leafy greens, when they get going, like lettuce, Asian greens like, mizuna, komatsuna, tatsoi.

Even some of the mesclun mixes, the Spring green mixes, can be adversely affected if you get a cold snap that you’re not prepared for. So it’s worth having some kind of cover arrangement to throw over in case of an emergency. The other problem, some people get is they don’t consider The number of days to maturity.

In Spring, you’re trying to put a crop through before it’s time to be sowing your warm season crops. So you have a window of a certain length of days. So when you’re selecting your vegetables for Spring sowing, this would be the same actually for the Fall if you’re harvesting before Winter.

You need to be very careful that the varieties you select have the smallest number of days to maturity because that will ensure that your crop can go in and be out in time to free up real estate for your warm season successional sowings coming afterward. Apart from that, really, being patient, waiting, nursing your little seedlings along.

With some things, you may be planting onions in the Spring too. Either from seeds that you’ve grown transplants from yourself, or sets, or, or plants. A lot of places sell plants now onions and leeks that have grown for a year and are ready to go into the garden. You can plant those out, but there’s always a danger with the onion family that once they start growing if they’re exposed to a very sharp cold snap, that will induce flower formation and bolting later in the season.

So again, you know, patience is your, is your best bet.

[00:30:47] Erin Landon: Uh, just a thought add is, especially for new gardeners is to make sure you grow what you like to eat.

[00:30:55] Bob Cain: Yes, absolutely.

[00:30:58] Erin Landon: Well, I know when I first started gardening, I grew tomatoes and I didn’t even like tomatoes or I thought I didn’t like tomatoes until I had had a homegrown tomato, but you know, so just, yeah, make sure you grow what you like to eat.

Tips for Maximizing Garden Space and Yields

Do you have any tips for optimizing space in the garden or yields?

[00:31:16] Bob Cain: Indeed I do. There are a couple of ways you can increase the efficiency of using your available growing space because that will determine your overall harvest, harvest at the year’s end. Now one method, and I’m talking about this at Sir Optimus Gala in Sequim next weekend, is to introduce vertical elements into your garden.

Now most of us do have vertical elements. I mean, we all know how to grow, a row of peas on a net, or pull beans on a net, but I’m talking more like things like teepees for pole beans instead of a single net. The beauty of a teepee, especially for things like runner beans, which hummingbirds love by the way, is that within the center of the teepee, you have a secondary growing area you can utilize.

Let me think. If you think about it, if you sow a row of peas, the footprint taken up by that crop is not very substantial. It’s perhaps two or three inches across, and however long the row happens to be. Now, consider a squash, a Winter squash. A Winter squash, without some punishment, will take over an entire raised bed.

One thing we’ve found here at the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden out here in Clallam is that we can grow Winter squash, acorns, delicata, and butternuts vertically up welded wire panels. Now that means the footprint the crop takes is substantially reduced and instead of a Winter squash taking over your entire bed, you have basically 90 percent of your bed ready for more produce.

Also if you’re, let’s say you plant two rows of peas, any seed packet will tell you the approximate spacing between the rows. Now that’s dead space. So why don’t you plant radish or lettuce or something in between? You can intercrop and that’s important because the more soil you can cover with your Spring crops, the less light is there to activate weed seedlings.

So you’re not only growing more, you should be saving some time weeding as well. And filling up the space, if you think about it, back to the 1970s, if you were born then, that was one of the major, go-to reasons for square foot gardening. Thank you. Thanks, Mike, because you’re essentially utilizing every square foot in your garden.

But proper watering, fertilization, and choosing a good variety that crops well for your area will help to increase your yield substantially.

When you’re fertilizing, you will get recommendations on soil testing, and what I tend to do is split that between an early Spring fertilizer addition and then one at the start of the Summer season so you don’t lose all your fertilizer, in one go

 if you’re using an organic fertilizer that’s going to keep producing nutrients for your garden over a longer period. But again, probably a couple of applications are going to be necessary, during the year to obtain maximum yield.

Now you may say, you know, is all this worth it? Well yes, if you consider the price of vegetables and the rate at which they’ve increased over the last two to three years, I mean, I don’t even have a large garden.

 My kitchen garden is 30 feet by 30 feet, and I have 15 raised beds in there. And last year that yielded about 540, 550 pounds of vegetables. Which is quite a cost-saving and well worth it.

[00:36:18] Erin Landon: Yeah, our garden is significantly larger, but we have like 12 raised beds on one side, and we haven’t built the rest of it yet.

yeah, I mean we’re to a point where, you know, if I can’t grow it, I don’t need it. Because we can grow so much in that space, and we have blueberries and everything too.

What is Succession Planting and How Does it Help a Vegetable Gardener?

So let’s talk about succession planting.

[00:36:44] Bob Cain: Succession planting is when you plant something, you’re considering the future of that piece of real estate.

Okay. If you plant some stuff in Spring, what’s going to come after it? What might be suitable to come after it? And what might not? And it’s an integral part of the efficient use of space. In the Spring garden, you can do succession planting in two quite different ways. The first one, for example, let’s say you’re sowing a cold hardy variety of lettuce, or it could be radishes, or just about any other Spring vegetable.

If you’re going to plant an eight-foot row, plant four feet first, and then wait two to three, perhaps up to four weeks, and plant the second half of the row. Now what that does is the first half will mature, and when you’ve harvested that the second half will be coming on in succession. That will basically ensure that over that window of time, you have a continuous supply of that particular crop.

Now the second way and it’s very important in Spring vegetable gardening is that you may plant a complete raised bed with hardy Spring vegetables. Now when those are harvested, the real estate is freed up. You now have a place to put your warm season crops, your eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever you may.

So you’re continuously utilizing the available space you have for growing, maximizing the amount of vegetables that you have in that area to suppress weeds and keep the harvest coming all the way through. Now there are some plants you should consider for early successional Spring sowing. Because of the temperature limitations, you’re really going to be restricted to a few kinds of vegetables for Spring planting.

Most of them are going to be in the broccoli family, the cabbage family. but in general, Spring successional sowing plants, to be followed by warm season plants, are generally considered to include things like arugula, hardy Asian greens like Komatsuna, Tatsoi, broccoli, Broccoli rabe, kohlrabi, cabbage, and not the savoy type.

The savoy type is best grown in the Fall through the Winter. Radishes, even small daikon radishes like Minowase. Uh, and those can be followed by lettuce in a succession. Cauliflowers. Brussels sprouts and things like Romanesco can also be used in the Spring garden for successional sowing.

If you sow Brussels sprout seed or transplant in the Spring, you’re going to be harvesting them in early Fall. Because of the brassicas, they are probably the longest to mature, usually quite a bit over a hundred days. Now, in addition to that, the successional sowings that you would do in Spring to be followed by your warm season crops can be used in the Fall as well for the same reason.

You can get a second crop out of them after your warm season crops have been lifted and some will actually overwinter, like some of the Winter lettuces, Brussels sprouts will overwinter well, so will savoy-type cabbages, and when the temperature is right in the Spring, minimum of 40 degrees, not 45, a little bit colder than we do for the majority of the Spring vegetables, you can plant things like Fava beans, pre-sprouted peas, spinach, and some of the hardier Winter lettuces like, North Pole, Winter Density, Continuity, varieties like that. You can also sow those between your rows of peas in a successional manner as well.

[00:42:03] Erin Landon: Speaking of overwintering, I had, we had a really cold snap early in the Winter, and it got down into the teens, and I was surprised I had Japanese mustard and lettuce

 that survived that cold snap. I’ve never had lettuce survive a freeze like that.

[00:42:22] Bob Cain: Yeah. Yeah, the Asian greens can be particularly good, in terms of hardiness.

Final Thoughts about Preparing for a Spring Vegetable Garden

[00:42:31] Erin Landon: I think that about covers the questions that I have. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[00:42:36] Bob Cain: Not really, apart from the fact to wish the listeners, a happy 2024, and I hope your growing season is kind to you.

[00:42:48] Erin Landon: Oh, and the publication that you mentioned earlier, I will link to that in the show notes, so it’s easy for people to find.

[00:42:57] Bob Cain: Yeah, that, that’s particularly useful because it does have frost dates, and it does have some of the USDA hardiness zone data, as well as being a very good source of information about general vegetable gardening.

[00:43:15] Erin Landon: And there are also some publications for specific crops. They’re more Summer, warm season crops like corn and tomatoes. I will link to those as well so that people can find them.

[00:43:29] Bob Cain: Oh, perhaps one more thing. If you can’t grow your transplants inside there’s nothing wrong with obtaining them from a reputable nursery.

And when you’re looking at seed, don’t always concentrate on the big guys. There are lots of little seed companies that produce some very interesting seed varieties that you can use in the Spring. I get some seeds from a company in Whatcom County as well as Northern Oregon and a few other places.

[00:44:09] Erin Landon: Yeah, I get some seeds from a company in Whatcom County as well, and they have some unique varieties, and with some of the smaller seed companies, you get varieties that are more climatized to Washington, as opposed to buying them from the Midwest or the East Coast where they were grown.

[00:44:29] Bob Cain: And a few unusual ones.

When I was in Scotland, I grew a Fava bean called Aguadulce Claudia, and the little seed company in Whatcom County is the only place in the States where I’ve been able to find that particular seed. It’s one of my favorites.

[00:44:50] Erin Landon: Well, thank you, Bob, for joining me today. That’s a lot of good veggie gardening information.

[00:44:55] Bob Cain: Well, thank you, Erin. I’m glad we got there after all the technical difficulties.