The days are noticeably longer and you’re thinking it may be time to start a vegetable garden. Don’t worry that you haven’t started seeds indoors — in most areas of the country, you can direct-sow many vegetable seeds after all danger of frost has passed. Check this map for average dates of last frost in spring.
Here are our top choices for vegetables to direct-sow in your garden this spring.
1. Root vegetables like carrots and radishes do better direct sown vs. transplanted. They need friable soil to grow straight. Carrots are classic starter vegetables for a children’s garden.
2. Cucumbers are easy to grow from seed and offer the promise of homemade pickles in mid-summer. Plant in rows or use the hill method — 1 inch deep and about 3 feet apart.
3. Give greens like spinach and lettuce a try while the weather is still chilly. Plant just as soon as the soil can be worked. Hint: Unless you’re feeding lots of greens lovers, sow half a packet at a time, staggering your plantings and harvests. Learn more about growing greens.
4. As a rule, vegetables with large seeds like zucchini and summer squash take well to direct sowing. Zucchini are planted using the hill method. The first blooms are male and may be eaten. They’re delicious in salads, or stuffed with ricotta cheese and fried.
5. Grow your own Jack O’ Lantern this year, with a few pumpkins in the garden. Consider planting them under a tall-growing crop such as corn, letting the vines run through the garden while the fruit matures shaded from the summer heat.
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