The best plants to grow in spring provide you with hope, inspiration and fresh, tasty treats to supplement a winter diet and winter doldrums. Because the ground may be unworkable, frozen or muddy, it is easiest to plant in spring if you plan ahead. Plant spring bulbs in the fall and till the garden space the season before to save time and headaches during the process. Soil amendments can be added in the fall and the soil topped with compost in the spring.
Spring plants should be selected in large part for their ability to withstand late cold snaps or sudden, unexpected frosts. Such plants need to be hardy because they may face strong spring storms, swings in temperature and less access to sunlight. A site with good drainage is important, as melting snow and heavy rains may cause low areas to accumulate standing water, rotting seeds, plants and bulbs before they can establish themselves. Oregon State University suggests root crops for their short growing season and ability to withstand cool temperatures. Carrots, beets and kohlrabi are well-suited to the conditions of spring.
Good spring choices for the garden grow quickly and provide you with a taste of fresh greens to feed your passion for gardening--making the digging, planting and weed pulling to come seem worthwhile endeavors. Green onions and relatives like chives are a good option. Cabbages, broccoli and other cole crops thrive in colder weather. Peas provide tender shoots and pods over several weeks, in addition to mature peas. Lettuces are simple to plant and harvest, and consecutive plantings can provide a supply of leaf lettuce or large, juicy heads leading into the warmth of summer. The University of Illinois Extension suggests you extend the season for lettuce by shading it with a taller crop once temperatures rise.
Spring flowering bulbs are a fast way to add cheerful color. Daffodils come in a variety of flower forms--from the well-known trumpet shape to flowers with nearly no trumpet-shaped cup at all. These bright additions do well planted 6-inches deep around the base of trees or foundations. Crocus is one of the earliest flowers to peek out of the ground--even out of the snow. These small but perky flowers serve as a reminder that warmer weather and all of its promise is on the way. Plant the corms 3-inches deep in small groups in corners of the yard or any flowerbed. Hyacinth is also an early bloomer, sending up stalks of tiny flower clusters. Try grape hyacinth, named for its appearance and aroma.