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How To Grow Spring Vegetables From Seed

Updated on June 10, 2015
LisaRoppolo profile image

Lisa is a writer and gardener with extensive knowledge of plants and plant care. Her articles focus on easy-care tips for home gardeners.

Winter is in It's Final Death Throws

Now is the time to start thinking about what you would like to plant in your garden for the upcoming growing season. Maybe you would like to try growing some different vegetables you have never grown before OR you are interested in growing spring vegetables instead of always only growing the summer staples (i.e. Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, etc).

This article will outline which spring vegetables you can grow from seed, with tips on how to plant and the conditions needed for successful spring growing. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but enough to get your thinking and experimenting with spring vegetables.

Going through my seed stash and determining what will be planted
Going through my seed stash and determining what will be planted | Source

Vegetables You Can Sow When Temperatures Have Reached 40 Degrees

There are several spring vegetables that can germinate in low temperatures and can take some frost.

Spinach: Benefits from cool spring temperatures and has a tendency to bolt once temps heat up as you head into early summer. Spinach likes full sun. Space each seed 3 inches apart and plant at a depth of about 1/2 inch.

Peas: Another plant that likes it cool. Summer temperatures will stress Peas and lead to slower production or dormancy until temps cool back down again in the fall. Make sure you have a trellis available for these plants to climb on. Peas prefer full sun. Plant seeds 2 inches apart and 3/4 of an inch deep.

Lettuce: One of the vegetables that we love to eat in my household, you can keep trimming the leaves for a salad and it will keep growing more. Lettuce prefers full sun to part shade. Surface sow the seeds, spacing about 5 inches apart.

Radish: Another favorite of my household and super easy to grow. I've never had a problem with germination, even with "old" seed. Radishes like full sun. Sow 1/2 inch deep and space about 1 inch apart.

Mustard and other Greens: Greens in general are very tolerant of cool temps and frost. Some varieties even taste better after a light frost. Greens like part shade. Plant seeds 2 inches apart at a depth of 1/4 of an inch.

Vegetable Seeds You Can Sow When Temperatures Have Reached 50 Degrees

When spring temperatures have stabilized and risen slightly, more spring vegetables are at your disposal.

Broccoli and Cauliflower: High in calcium, Broccoli and Cauliflower do well in full sun to part shade. Plant the seeds 5 inches apart and 1/2 inch deep.

Swiss Chard: One of our favorites. Swiss Chard is a very hearty plant. We planted ours in part shade and it produced spring through the fall without bolting or going dormant in the heat of the summer. Plant in full sun to part shade 1/2 inch apart and 1/4 of an inch deep.

Carrots: Come in many sizes, colors and even shapes. Carrots are one of those staples in our spring garden that we plant every year. Their seeds are especially tiny, so you have a few options when planting them. You can make a "seeder" out of a folded piece of paper. Put a few seeds in the crease and use a pen or pencil tip to drop one of the tiny seeds into the soil or you can buy pre-made seed tape which takes the guesswork out of planting and spacing. All you have to do is cut the tape to size and plant the whole thing in the garden. Carrots like full sun. Plant 4 inches apart and surface sow, lightly covering the seed.

Kohlrabi: This vegetable is making a renaissance in the vegetable gardens of America. It is very common in Germany, where they like to boil the plant and add them to soups. Their flavor is very interesting; to me it has a slight broccoli flavor with a hint of cabbage. The texture raw is that of a Jicama. I definitely think everyone should try this out at least once. Kohlrabi likes full sun. Sow seeds 11 inches apart at a depth of 1/2 of an inch.

Scallions: aka Bunching onions. Very easy to grow and will supply you with onions spring through late fall. We grow these every year and cook with them in all sorts of recipes. We even use them in salsa and guacamole. Scallions like full sun. Space seeds 4 inches apart and sow at a depth of 1/4 of an inch.

Chives: Chives are one of those plants that you can plant once and it comes back every year. So, make sure you plant it in a spot that you don't mind it staying there forever. Chives do best in full sun, but I have them in an area that only gets afternoon sun and they have done really well. Surface sow the seeds and lightly cover with soil.

Beets: Both the tops and the beet bulb can be eaten. Harvest the tops when they are young; larger tops tend to get too "woody". Beets prefer full sun. Sow seeds 3 inches apart and at a depth of 1/2 of an inch.

Loose Leaf Lettuce Harvest
Loose Leaf Lettuce Harvest | Source

Spring Seed Planting

Will you be planting spring vegetables this year?

See results

Growing Instructions Recap

  • Check the growing instructions on the individual seed package.
  • Determine your garden layout and where each plant will go.
  • Make sure soil drains properly.
  • Make sure you water all seeds and seedlings moderately.

"Le Bizarre" Radishes
"Le Bizarre" Radishes | Source

Spring Sowing Chart

(click column header to sort results)
Vegetable Type  
Minimum Temperature  
Estimated Planting Time*  
40 Degrees
40 Degrees
40 Degrees
40 Degrees
40 Degrees
50 Degrees
50 Degrees
Swiss Chard
50 Degrees
50 Degrees
50 Degrees
50 Degrees
50 Degrees
50 Degrees

* Planting estimate times based on Zone 5 conditions

"Bright Lights" Swiss Chard
"Bright Lights" Swiss Chard | Source

Saving Seeds

Usually, you have more seeds in each seed packet than you plan on using. Instead of buying new seeds every year, most seeds are able to be saved if you follow these guidelines:

  • Reseal the package or transfer to an envelope.
  • Place envelopes in a location that is away from moisture, light and excessive heat.
  • Ideally, the temperature at which you store seeds should be between 50 degrees and 75 degrees.
  • Seeds typically remain viable in these conditions for up to 5 years.

"Snowbird" Snow Pea
"Snowbird" Snow Pea | Source
"Lola Rossa" Lettuce
"Lola Rossa" Lettuce | Source

© 2014 Lisa Roppolo


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    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      Very interesting article. I have planted lots of seeds a few weeks ago and they are starting to germinate. I love gardening and the Spring.

    • LisaRoppolo profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Roppolo 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Thank you!

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 

      6 years ago from Australia

      Great job. Photos make me envious; why can't my vege garden do that :) Congrats on your achievement in the hubpot challenge, this hub is exemplary. voted up.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Awesome photos and great information for upcoming spring planting.

    • LisaRoppolo profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Roppolo 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Thanks so much! I'm glad everyone is enjoying it. Those radishes are an awesome variety, I'm growing them again this year. I believe they are the Franchi brand from Seeds From Italy.

    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 

      6 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      Wow, this is a fantastic hub, Lisa! I am an avid gardener and I love reading about the gardening world (especially during sowing time) and this hub came just in time. I appreciate you including your pictures of your harvest too, I love the radishes and the peas! I am hoping to sow peas soon, on my fence provided the weather is good.

      Well done on winning the HubPot, that is a fantastic achievement! You should be so proud.

      Voted up and interesting, and shared. Well done again.

    • LisaRoppolo profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Roppolo 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Thank you Victoria!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great tips! Pinning to my gardening board. Congrats on a winning hub! And welcome to HubPages!

    • LisaRoppolo profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Roppolo 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Thank you! Appreciate all the feedback from everyone! You guys have made my day! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Congrats Lisa! This is a beautiful Article! Great Job Voted Useful and Interesting!

    • LisaRoppolo profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Roppolo 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Thank you!

    • cecileportilla profile image

      Cecile Portilla 

      6 years ago from West Orange, New Jersey

      Hi LisaRoppolo:

      A well written and informative hub. Beautiful clear pictures! Very happy that a new Hubber won. Congratulations! Voted up!

    • LisaRoppolo profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa Roppolo 

      6 years ago from Joliet, IL

      Thank you, appreciate it!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      6 years ago from USA

      Welcome to HubPages and congratulations on your win. Looks like you're off to a great start with a wonderful hub.


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