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Which Vegetable Seeds Should I Sow in Spring?

Updated on August 27, 2012
Spring vegetable garden at Great Dixter House in Northiam, East Sussex. Great Britain.
Spring vegetable garden at Great Dixter House in Northiam, East Sussex. Great Britain. | Source

Once Spring rolls around and any harmful Winter frosts have lifted, the astute vegetable gardener will start sowing their Spring vegetable crops to make the most of the growing season.

Certain vegetables will generally do better when planted early or later in the season, but this will of course vary depending on the climate where they're grown.

Some climates will be too hot to successfully grow traditional leafy greens even when sown in early Spring as they may become too bitter to eat if the temperature is too high, if this is the case where you live try finding alternative tropical perennial leaf crops that can cope with high temperatures or reverse the season and start your favorite annual leafy greens in Autumn as the temperature begins to cool.

On the flip side, in some locations early Spring may be too cold and seed will have to be started under glass or sown in mid or late Spring to achieve success.

It is always handy to seek out vegetable gardening clubs or Internet forums with advice specific to the climate in which you live, they will often have information explaining which vegetables are best planted when and if they don't you can always ask and tap into the collective wisdom of gardeners local to your area.

The following is a general guide to what vegetable seed are best sown during each month of Spring.

Lettuce grown before the heat of Summer kicks in.
Lettuce grown before the heat of Summer kicks in.

Seed To Sow Early Spring

Southern Hemisphere: September. Northern Hemisphere: March.

Lots of vegetable seed can be direct-sown early in the season including carrot, parsnip, beetroot, silver-beet, Summer spinach, onion, leeks cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, swede, turnip, Asian greens, pea and lettuce. For best results always wait until the last frost has past so they young emerging seedlings arn't scorched.

If grown in punnets in a warm greenhouse or under glass, tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini and corn can also be successfully started early.

These eggplants where grown from seed planted in the middle of Spring.
These eggplants where grown from seed planted in the middle of Spring.

Seed To Sow Mid Spring

Southern Hemisphere: October. Northern Hemisphere: April.

Most vegetables able to be sown in early Spring can also be sown in mid Spring with the exception of onion, Summer spinach, swede, kohlrabi and turnip.

In addition, now is the perfect time to direct-sow pumpkin, zucchini, squash, salad onion, spring onions and tomato seeds.

Early pea varieties may struggle to thrive as the weather warms, but late varieties of pea can also be sown mid Spring.

If the temperature is still too cold to direct-sow them outside, cucumber, tomato, eggplant and capsicum can do well when started under glass in mid Spring.

Any seedlings started under glass in early Spring should be able to be planted out into the vegetable patch late in the month.

Delicious Spring sown cherry tomatoes.
Delicious Spring sown cherry tomatoes.

Seed To Sow Late Spring

Southern Hemisphere: November. Northern Hemisphere: May.

There's still plenty of time to sow many vegetable seeds in late Spring if you live in a location with mild Summers and you can keep the water up to them over the hotter days.

Celery, carrot, parsnip, asparagus, salad onion, leek, beetroot, rhubarb, Summer spinach, okra, bush beans, climbing beans, broccoli, kohlrabi, radish, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, turnip, swede, cabbage, Asian leafy greens, capsicum, tomato, eggplant, lettuce, pumpkin, zucchini, winter squash and corn can all be directly sown into the garden and are all worth a go.

Any remaining seedlings you have that were started under glass should be planted into the vegetable patch once they're large enough to handle safely.

Will you be sowing vegetable seed this Spring?

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Hopefully I've given you some advice if you're struggling to decide what to plant this Spring. While reading over the lists of recommended vegetables, if one of them has sparked your interest, go out and purchase a small packet of seed and get started. Before too long you'll be reaping the benefits of your own fresh, homegrown Spring vegetables which will no doubt taste better and be more nutritious than most of the produce available in the shops.

Enjoy your homegrown vegetables liberally, excess consumption may have a laxative effect but you'll feel all the better for it afterwards.


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