Spring! It’s here! I’m basically like Buddy the Elf when it comes to springtime excitement. I have such a soft spot for this season, but one of my all-time favorite parts is the spring flower and spring produce. I recently shared some tips on growing your own food at home, even if you don’t have a garden, but you may be wondering what is in season. Depending on where you live, your options will vary, but spring planting tends to be pretty universal with a few exceptions. I highly recommend Farmers’ Almanac as the ultimate resource for what to plant and when in your “zone.” It has all the info you need from frost dates to harvesting tips.
But in the meantime, here are a few tips to get you started.
Fruits & Vegetables
There are two main kinds of beans found in gardens: bush beans and pole beans. Start planting both bush and pole beans now that the soil and air are warming up.
Try these varieties: French Garden, Golden Wax
Beets have edible leaves and roots and come in a variety of colorful types. Direct seed a few weeks before your last frost date about ½-inch deep.
Try these varieties: Chioggia, Golden Detroit
Carrots like cool soil but not cold, so plant mid- to late-April, depending on where you live. Sowing carrot seeds in April ensures a tasty summer treat!
Try these varieties: Scarlet Nantes, Rainbow Mix
Plant pea seeds directly in the ground in early spring when it’s still cool, depending on where you live; they don’t bear well in heat. Plant about an inch deep or spaced an inch apart on both sides of a trellis or pea netting because they need to climb.
Try these varieties: Sugar Snap Peas, Alderman
Pepper thrive in hot weather, so April is the time to sow as many different varieties as possible to let those little babies grow.
Try these varieties: Candy Cane, Early Jalapeño
Radishes are an easy crop to grow, and they’re ready in about 30 days. Direct seed into the garden in early spring and sure to keep planting beds or containers moist so radishes don’t become woody and tough.
Try these varieties: Easter Egg, Watermelon
Shallots are easy to grow so they’re a good choice for all gardeners. If you’ve ever watched or read anything by Anthony Bourdain, you know that shallots are essential to elevated cooking, so start sowing!
Try these varieties: French Ambition, Camelot
If you haven’t already started your tomato seeds, start them now! There’s nothing quite as delicious as a homegrown tomato, you’ll never go back to store-bought.
Try these varieties: Early Girl, Brandywine
Generally speaking, spring-flowering bulbs should be planted in the fall (a few weeks before first frost), while summer-flowering bulbs should be planted in the spring (a few weeks after last frost). Here are some varieties you can plant now for summer blooms.
If you’re looking for a prolific annual flower for gardens and bouquets in a wide range of colors, try zinnias. The plants range from low growing, to tall and statuesque. Flowers come in all the colors of the rainbow depending on the variety. Group them in a flower or vegetable garden for color and to attract bees and butterflies.
Pansies are a pretty (and edible!) flower that can go into the ground in early to late spring. Interplant with other vegetables, or place in containers and window boxes for early color.
Nasturtiums are always a favorite in the garden because they’re a multi-purpose plant. They’re great for pollinators, which means they’ll attract bees and butterflies alike — and their bright colors may also attract a few hummingbirds. Flower petals and leaves both are edible, with a nice, peppery flavor that makes them a great addition to savory dishes.
Petunias are moderately easy to grow from seed, and extremely easy to grow from commercially grown seedlings. Use petunias everywhere there is sun. Growing petunias can offer long-term color in the summer landscape and brighten dreary borders with lovely pastel colors.
Marigolds are an all-time favorite not only for their pretty blooms but because they’re good for keeping pests out of the garden — especially nuisance insects that damage vegetable plants. Marigolds don’t need regular deadheading, so once you’ve planted them, they’re a worry-free flower.
Begonias are another April favorite. Ideal for containers, hanging baskets and window boxes, these easy-care plants grow best in the shade or partial shade, though some varieties may tolerate some sun. Begonias can also be planted in flower beds and borders. Their blooms are a welcome sign of summer — and they continue flowering until frost in the fall.