4 Vegetables to Grow in a Spring Garden

Planting a spring vegetable garden requires slightly different strategies then planting your summer vegetable garden. Most vegetable plants are not going to germinate if the soil is cooler than 70 degrees Fahrenheit and if they don’t get consistent days of warm weather. However, a few very tasty vegetables can be planted for a spring harvest that will thrive in the chilly, wet weather common during early spring. The four best plants to add to your spring vegetable garden are asparagus, rhubarb, peas, and lettuce. Here's some tips on how to have a successful harvest with each.

1. Asparagus: A Nutritious Perennial That Can Be Pickled

Asparagus shoots coming up in a spring vegetable garden.

Asparagus is a perennial crop, which means that once it's planted it will regenerate year after year without having to be replanted. Asparagus is one of the best spring vegetables to add to your spring vegetable garden because they thrive in cool weather and are very nutritious. Asparagus can be grown in hardiness zones 4 through 9 and prefer full sun. To plant asparagus, you will need to either plant the crown of a 1-year old asparagus plant, or you can start your asparagus from seed. Keep in mind, however, that ff you plant asparagus seeds, it will take a couple of years before you can harvest a crop. If you ever find yourself with an overabundance of fresh asparagus, you can pickle it and store it for several years to preserve the crunch of the stalks.

2. Rhubarb: An Uncommon Vegetable Used in Desserts

Rhubarb is another vegetable like asparagus that's considered a perennial crop, meaning it will regenerate year after year. Also like asparagus, it can be grown from either a crown from an adult plant or seeds. You can also propagate this plant by dividing up the root ball. When planting rhubarb, you need to give them plenty of space—a radius of three feet between plants, to be exact. This plant requires full sun to ripen and to ensure that the toxic oxalic acid in the leaves don’t migrate to the edible part of the plant, which are the thick stalks. Rhubarb isn't a popular vegetable, but it does well cooked with sugar into pies, crumbles, and other desserts with a tart taste.

3. Peas: A Fast-Growing and Hardy Vegetable

Peas growing in a spring vegetable garden.

A hardy annual vegetable that works well for spring vegetable gardens is the pea plant. Peas come in many varieties including snow peas and sugar peas. You can plant vegetable seeds to grow your peas from scratch or you can buy garden plants that were started in a greenhouse. The traditional planting date for peas is St. Patrick’s Day. However, if your spring vegetable garden is still under snow in March, you can wait until April to plant your peas. Keep in mind that you don't want to wait too long for planting, though, since pea plants prefer the cold and prefer to be planted early. Since peas are fast-growing vegetables, you can easily plant two crops of peas each season and have plenty to eat and share.

4. Lettuce: A Gardener's Favorite for Salads

If you're interested in growing vegetables for salads in your spring vegetable garden, (and who wouldn't be?) then make sure you plant several varieties of lettuce and other leafy greens. Lettuce does well in cool temperatures, however, most varieties require a soil temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. To overcome this obstacle, you can start your lettuce sprouts inside your home, garage, or greenhouse, and then transfer them to your vegetable garden when they first sprout roots. Lettuce is another fast-growing spring vegetable, so you should plan to plant several crops in succession to enjoy your hard work throughout the season.