Chef Janine's Top 7 Vegetables To Plant In Spring

If you find yourself thinking about planting something edible as we are entering spring, but not sure what, this post is for you. Here are my favorite vegetables to plant in spring – these are the ones I enjoy cooking with and eating.


Please note that in a matter of weeks you could be harvesting fresh produce from some vegetables, such as the lettuce, if start with seedlings! If you start with seeds, it may take a little longer.


Of course, some of the veggies take several months to produce their crop, so you’ll be eating them well into autumn. Many of these can also be planted several times through spring and into early summer, to stagger the harvest and keep that fresh produce coming.



GENERAL VEGGIE CARE


All veggies need to be kept well-watered and will benefit from liquid feeding every seven to 10 days as they grow.


For best results, plant veggies in a spot that gets sun from early morning until early afternoon. On hot days many veggies need shade to reduce heat and water stress. You can use a screen, tall plantings on the western side of the bed, or toss over a shadecloth on a hot day for temporary shade.


Water veggies at least once a day (more frequently during heatwaves) and spend time checking for pests that may eat your veggies before you can. Keep the area free of weeds, too.


Tip: Nurture new plantings. They may need shelter from too much hot sunshine until they establish their root system. Snails and slugs can eat seedlings in a single night, so also use a pet- and wildlife-friendly, iron-based snail bait to protect new plants.


Chef Janine's Top 7 Vegetables To Plant In Spring



Juicy tomatoes are simple to grow and add unbeatable flavor to salads.

TOMATOES


Tomatoes are often the first plant a new veggie gardener aspires to. It's little wonder - with so many different varieties available, the backyard can produce a smorgasbord of color, size and flavor. You can plant at least three varieties – sometimes many more – my favorite is Black Russian.

Give plants plenty of room to grow (follow the recommended plant spacing on the plant label or seed packet) and train them up a tall stake.

Tomatoes need to be regularly watered and protected from late frosts in spring as well as hot spells. Begin feeding from when the yellow flowers appear.

Protect from fruit fly with organic fruit fly baits, or for a fuss-free crop, grow cherry tomatoes.

There are compact tomato varieties (look for Patio tomatoes) to grow in containers. Ask your nursery store.

Eat home grown tomatoes fresh or cook them up into sauces and chutneys.


Zucchinis are very easy to grow - share them with friends and neighbors!

ZUCCHINI


These are generally the most bountiful of plants if you plant more than three or four plants. I love to cook with zucchini almost every week. It goes fantastic with Asian and Italian dishes. If you are not on COMFORT KETO program and cook yourself, you will surely find lots of zucchini recipes online.

Zucchinis are spreading plants (observe the recommended spacing and give them plenty of space to grow).

Keep plants well watered.

The fruit tends to form in summer once the female flowers appear. Once they start, they mature rapidly so check and pick frequently. They are then harvested through summer and into autumn until the plant succumbs to powdery mildew and calls it a day.



Fresh cucumbers are versatile - use in salads, sandwiches, ...

CUCUMBER


To Chef Janine, nothing equals a freshly picked, home-grown cucumber for flavor and crunch.

Cucumbers find their way into Chef Janine's sandwiches, salads and homemade tzatziki (yogurt and cucumber dip).

If you have more than you can eat fresh, they are bottled as bread and butter cucumbers to eat later.

Cucumbers are easiest to manage grown on a climbing frame or tepee.

Where there’s not much space, grow cucumbers in a large pot (at least 1.5 ft across).

Train the vines up a climbing frame.




Smoky grilled eggplant tastes delicious!

EGGPLANT


This delicious vegetable has pretty flowers and is very attractive to grow in the garden (or a container).

It is usually trouble-free.

There are varieties with small fruit which crop quickly.

Grill eggplant on the barbecue or turn it into a delicious baba ganoush.












Take your home-made salads to the next level with fresh lettuce.

LETTUCE


Some leafy green is a must in every veggie bed or container vegetable garden.

Growing a range of loose-leaf lettuce with a selection of leaf shapes and colors makes for interesting salads.

Traditional Iceberg lettuce can also be rewarding to grow.

Plant some sort of lettuce as seed or seedling every few weeks so there’s always some to harvest and more growing.








Beans provide an abundant crop.

BEANS


You may choose both climbing beans (grow climbers up a tepee or on a trellis) and bush beans (suitable for pots or the edge of a garden bed). You may also dry them for eating during autumn and winter.

Beans are easy to grow and crop heavily.

Once the beans start to form, pick them daily as they taste best when they are young and tender.

The exception is beans grown for drying (such as Borlotti or Scarlet Runner), which are left to mature and dry on the vine.




Sweet peppers mature in 60-90 days. Hotter peppers take longer.

CHILI PEPPERS


Let’s talk about growing chili peppers. Chili peppers start off a bit slow, so it is helpful to start to grow your plants indoors a few weeks (anywhere from 8-12 weeks) before transferring them outside.

Keep the early soil and budding plants constantly moist, but do not over water.

Keep them warm (80 -85 degrees F is best) and in a sunlit place.

If this is your first time growing your chili peppers from seeds, learn more about growing chili peppers from seed.


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