JoAnne Skelly: Cool season vegetables

JoAnne Skelly

JoAnne Skelly

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF
It is cool season vegetable planting time. Most cool season vegies taste best when grown in the cool spring weather. Look for varieties with the shortest maturation times from seed to harvest.
Plant vegetables in sunny locations with fertile, well-drained soil to which you have added compost and a complete fertilizer before planting.
One popular vegetable is kale, which can go in four to five weeks before the last frost. In our area the average last frost is around May 15, later for some of the colder locations.
Plant seeds ¼-½ inch deep. Thin seedlings or transplant kale 12-18 inches apart in the row with rows two feet apart. Once the heat of summer kicks in, kale will start to get bitter and tough. This will also happen with fluctuations in soil moisture. Water deeply and keep soil evenly moist. Mulching around the plants will maintain even soil moisture.
Spinach is another dependable cool season crop. Plant seeds ½ inch deep, two to three weeks before the last frost in the spring. Thin seedlings or transplant spinach to three inches apart in the row with rows 12 inches apart. Even moisture and cool weather again are key.
Radishes get planted ½-1 inch deep. Stagger plantings to extend harvest season. Thin radishes to one to three inches apart in row with rows 12 inches apart. Plant two to three weeks before the last frost in spring.
I like broccoli. Plant seeds ¼- ½ inch deep, two to three weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings or transplant broccoli 12-18 inches apart in the row with rows two to three feet apart. Water evenly and mulch to conserve moisture.
Broccoli will benefit from the addition of a nitrogen-based fertilizer like a 21-0-0 or an organic alternative, four weeks after transplanting or thinning. Add more nitrogen when the broccoli heads are the size of quarters. Watch out for aphids.
Vegetables do best when they don’t have to compete with weeds, so weed regularly.
You may also want to protect your seedlings from bird or squirrel predation by covering them with plant cloths or wire mesh screens. Keep your eye out for aphids and squish them often or wash them off with a stream of water.
Utah State University has a great site for information with details on all kinds of vegetables, including suitable varieties, not just cool season crops:
JoAnne Skelly is associate professor and Extension educator emerita of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment