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Cold Crops

March 08, 2012

Old crop (also called cool season) vegetables grow best in the cooler part of the growing season, in fact most cold crops appreciate a frost or two. The cool weather provides a better, almost sweetened flavor to the crop, where-as if these same crops were grown in summer they might taste bitter. For most of us, we are ready to start growing plants after a long winter. Some cool season crops can be started (sow seed inside) as”early as February to be transplanted to the garden when soil is workable in March or April, while other crops can be direct sown outside at the same time as transplanting (utilize both methods to provide a staggered harvest time). Room temperature should be enough warmth for the majority of cool season crop seed to germinate. In fact, some would benefit from being directly sowed into the ground as opposed to transplanting such as peas, carrots, radishes, turnips and parsnips.

Most cold crops can be planted”both in early spring and late summer, which can significantly extend the growing season, harvesting into the fall or even after frost. There is quite an extensive list of cool season vegetable plants. Some can handle colder temperatures better than others, so be sure to read the individual seed packet per starting and growing requirements. Without any further ado, here is the list: aurgula, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, chinese cabbage, collards, fennel, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsley, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, and turnips. Listed below are some resources on gardening with cool season crops.The Edible Garden, Hazel White & Janet H. Sanchez, Sunset Books (2005) The American Horticulture Society encyclopedia of Gardening, Christopher Brickell, DK (2003) Toledo Grows, located on Oneida St. in downtown Toledo. Always read the seed packet for growing tips. Most seed companies will offer extra gardening advice via website (example: Burpee has a grow calendar posted on-line).

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