Crops You Can Plant Out BEFORE Your last Frost Date!

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Indiana Backyard Gardener
Published at : 05 Feb 2021
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PEA seedlings can withstand temperatures of about 28F. They can handle as low as 20F with some potential damage. I like to pre-sprout my peas seeds to make sure I get a good germination rate, but you can also directly sow them in the garden. (5 weeks before the last frost date.)
SPINACH is one of the most cold-hardy vegetables and can even be overwintered in many locations with good luck. This cool-weather crop can withstand temperatures of 15F! Spinach does best when sown directly in the garden and you can plant it as early as 4-6 weeks before your last frost date.
RADISHES are one of the most gratifying vegetables to grow. I mean, seriously, you can have a fresh, homegrown radish from seed in as little as 21 days! When it’s cold and dreary, a bright red radish is sure to brighten your day! (direct sow 3-4 weeks before last frost date)
This cool-weather crop will germinate in soil temperatures as low as 45. And once growing, the plants can withstand a cold frost.
CABBAGE is a member of the brassica family and thrives in cool weather.
It’s best to start your cabbage seeds indoors about 8-12 weeks before your last frost date. Once the plants have about 6 true leaves you can transplant them into the garden. You can start planting out as early as 4 weeks before your last frost date. Cabbages can handle freezing temperatures down to about 20F.
BROCCOLI is another member of the brassica family that loves the cold.
Like cabbage, start your broccoli seeds indoors and transplant them to the garden about 4 weeks before your last frost.
​Broccoli isn’t *as* hardy as cabbage but can still withstand the mid-20s with no problem. If you grew them in a cold frame or under a row cover they can go even colder!
KALE is a master at withstanding freezing temperatures and there is the added bonus of increased flavor that comes with the frost! Some varieties can even handle single digits. In the spring, plant your kale indoors at the same time as your broccoli and cabbage.
Transplant at the same time as well. Another bonus of Kale is that it doesn’t bolt in hot weather as quickly as other cool-weather crops.
ARUGULA is a tangy, nutty green that is a member of the brassica family. Unlike other brassicas, it is best directly sowed in the garden and germinates in temperatures as low as 40F. Arugula should be sow successively as soon as the soil can be worked and planted throughout the cool weather.
(plant 3 weeks before the last frost along with radish)
CARROTS thrive in cooler weather and grow best in daytime temperatures ranging from 60-65F. Carrot seeds should be directly sown in the very early spring, and their seeds will germinate in soil temperatures as low as 55F. Carrots don’t like hot, so it’s best to plant and harvest before the summer heat. Carrots also overwinter quite well, so plant a fall crop too! (Plant carrots out with spinach and peas) 5weeks before the last frost date)
ONIONS thrive in temperatures between 50-75 but are quite cold hardy as well. This cool-weather crop can withstand down to 20F. Onions need a long growing season to produce a large bulb, so planting early and mulching well to prevent the bulb from freezing (and rotting once thawed) is a must. Start indoors 10-12 weeks before the last frost date.
LETTUCE is a wonderfully, easy thing to grow. Pair it with your spinach, arugula, and radishes for a nice early spring salad. Depending on your variety, lettuce can be hardy through hard frosts in the low 20s. Directly sow your seeds in the garden. Frost cloth or row covers may be needed when the seedlings are still small.
SWISS CHARD is very cold hardy- with some varieties withstanding temperatures of 15F. You can start your seeds indoors along with your cabbage and broccoli, or direct sow when you plant out your other brassicas. With proper care and mulch, this cool-weather crop can be overwintered and will begin to grow again the following spring with no work on your part!
Direct sow seed before last frostcrops to grow firstspring crops to start first

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