McCREARY: Plant seeds for spring harvest

Climate change or not, late February still signals gardeners to prep for planting. Amid all the hubbub over starting tomato, cucumber, and zucchini seeds, let's not forget that we still have at least 3 months left for cool-season crops.

There's no rush for seeding summer vegetables unless you live in a very warm microclimate where nighttime temperatures consistently stay above 50 degrees in early May. If not, you'll have better success by waiting another month to start summer's seeds.

While it's still winter, you can set out transplants or plant seeds for many healthful and delicious vegetables.

Now thru May, plant kale seeds for cutting young leaves until hot weather sets in. Baby leaf spinach will be ready in about 7 weeks; yellow beets, 8 weeks; sugar snap peas, 9 weeks.

For reliably tasty and top-performing heritage and hybrid varieties, check Reneesgarden.com or look for Renee's Garden packets locally on seed racks at nearly every nursery and garden center.

This year, Renee Shepherd is introducing Little Jade, a dense Napa cabbage with upright heads of narrow leaves good for dips, slaws and stir-fry. It will be ready in about 8 weeks after planting in March and April.

Mild or tangy

With so many easy-to-grow options, don't overlook onions. Mild to intensely flavored varieties are stocked now at nurseries as transplants.

Our latitude puts us as intermediate between long- and short-day varieties, so nurseries tend to offer only types that perform best here. Those of us who love sweet, white Walla Wallas, though, stretch a bit and are usually successful in growing this long-day, wonderfully delicious onion.

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