Spring vegetables are often the most cherished crops in a home garden. After a long winter of preserved food and icy weather, there are few things as tasty as the first spring greens from your own garden. Many spring plants prefer the cooler weather and shorter days in the beginning of the year. Take advantage of their preferences and grow a spring garden treat.
Experienced gardeners and food fans know that lettuce doesn't have to come in a round green head. There are dozens of different lettuce varieties that can be grown in the home garden. From loose bunches to individual leaves, lettuces have a variety of flavor and color types. Purchase a mixed lettuce seed pack and plant a short row every two weeks through the spring to keep lettuce varieties for your salad bowl until the heat of summer.
Early green peas are a sweet treat from the spring garden. Plant peas in raised beds to take advantage of earlier soil warming. Give peas a sunny spot and keep them protected from high winds. Sticks gathered from under trees can be pushed into the soil as pea brush to help support the vines. Peas will be ready to pick about three weeks after they blossom. Cook fresh peas very soon after picking for the best and sweetest flavor.
Radishes are one of the fastest-growing crops in the home garden, and they love the cool, moist days of spring. Plant radishes as soon as your soil can be worked, planting short rows every two weeks. Radish plants are ideal for using up extra space in a garden in between broccoli and other plants that will grow larger later in the season. Pick radishes when they are round and full, but don't leave them too long in the ground or they can get woody and hot.
Carrots are an easy-to-grow cool-season crop. Plant the seeds as soon as the ground can be worked without clumping, and put in small amounts of seed every week. This will ensure a steady supply of carrots throughout the late spring instead of one large harvest. Carrots need a lot of moisture for growing, so make sure that they are watered regularly. You may begin picking carrots when they are the size of a finger, or let them mature to six- to eight-inch size.