We should be into May by this point, so it makes sense to discuss what to plant at this time of year, and my top 5 greens, as this is generally the time to plant them as well. I will also talk a little bit about permaculture, in the event that some people may want to try something a little different this season.
Main points covered:
1) General discussion on planting dates
“If it’s warm enough for a frog to mate, it’s probably warm enough for a pea to germinate.” – Greg Auton
2) Things to plant in late April early May.
Peas – First week of April as they are hardy and can take the cold. Carrots, parsnips, and beets are hardy as well.
Broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, can all be planted early. Collards perhaps a bit later as they don’t like the cold.
Leeks, green onion, and parsley (and most greens) are all very hardy as well and resistant to the spring cold.
Potatoes need soil that is 5 degrees Celsius to grow. They do not like colder temperatures than that. Red potatoes come in very early so they are good to plant first. Mid May is usually a reliable target date to plant potatoes to ensure they will grow.
3) Greg’s top five greens to grow and eat
Kale – Buy 6 kale transplants and you can have kale for months, possibly into the fall. It’s a great plant and is Greg’s #1 green. It even tastes better after things start to freeze up in the fall. The typical kind in the grocery stores is Scotch Curly Kale, but Greg prefers Red Russian Kale which he thinks tastes better and grows very large. Lacinato Kale (Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale)), can grow 3 feet high, and is perhaps the best tasting Kale though iot is not as hardy as the others and should generally not be planted before mid May.
Kohlrabi – Looks like a turnip at the bottom, typically grown for it’s root, very popular in Eastern Europe. It grows tall thick greens, similar to Collard Greens, but cooks in minutes. It’s a very intense green when cooked and tastes great. Comes in white, red, and other varieties including various kinds of ‘Giant’ Kohlrabi.
Swiss Chard – Giant Ford Hook is very reliable, although other varieties are available.
Spinach – Is a great green because it grows very quickly and is perhaps one of the earliest greens to germinate, but goes to seed sometime in July and starts to lose its flavour.
Lettuce – While lettuce can be a bit of a pain in the garden, it is nice to grow your own. The variety ‘Paris Island Cos’ is a lot like Romaine Lettuce but tastes much better than the stuff you might buy in the grocery store.
4) Permaculture – Simplify your gardening and start developing a garden that takes care of itself by copying the way things work in a forest. The first step towards incorporating permaculture into your garden is to make sure that you are using some form of mulch wherever you are growing your vegetables. Never leave the soil exposed!