The early spring can make for a good time to jumpstart your spring garden, especially for plants that can withstand lingering shots of cold air. Cold-hardy plants can handle a few touches of frost, and you can start the seeds either indoors or outdoors, depending on where you live.
Choose things that you like to eat or things that grow well in your location. The most popular spring vegetable garden plants include beets, broccoli, carrots, garden peas, onions, lettuce, mustard potatoes, spinach, radishes, turnips, and cabbage.
1. Lettuce/Mixed Greens/Spinach
Whatever green, leafy base your favorite salad requires, you would be wise to grow it yourself this spring. Spinach, mixed greens, and lettuce are all quite pricey in the produce aisle. You're usually paying for convenience with these items, so they're often found bagged or boxed, pre-washed, and free of stems. But if you plant them yourself, along with arugula and Swiss chard, you'll get the most value per square foot. Plus, you'll know exactly what you're getting and just how clean it is.
Whether they are red, orange, yellow or purple, these cooler season vegetables are packed with vitamins and an undeniable sweetness. Carrots are root vegetables, and with proper sun and water, they can be picked early as tender baby carrots or later on as crunchy mature ones.
Since garlic is one of the most expensive produce items to buy in-store, growing it yourself is a much better plan. Whether you're buying the full cloves, the striped cloves that are pre-washed, or the pre-minced garlic, you're paying way more for this plantable item than necessary. To save even more money on your garlic harvest, you can grow it as a perennial, and not have to replant it every year.
Cilantro can be a relatively inexpensive item to buy, but how often do you use up everything you buy? It is also a plant that produces the highest dollar value per square foot based on typical production in good growing conditions. Cilantro is an annual, but it seeds itself so well that you might think it is a perennial.
Like garlic, chives are a perennial plant, so you only have to plant once and can count on it grows back every year. It's also another produce item found on the list of crops that produce the highest dollar value per square foot based on typical production in good growing conditions.
Radishes move fast in the garden from seed to bulb so keep an eye on them after a few weeks. This category of produce is virtually pest-free, although watch out for maggots. This plant is a great choice for beginners because of the easy success with each harvest. Radishes are often eaten raw or used as a garnish.
There's something particularly satisfying about biting into a juicy tomato you grew in your very own garden. And since cherry tomatoes are small, you tend to go through them quickly. You'll no longer be paying top dollar for each box when you can pick what you need from your garden.
Tomatoes are the most popular garden vegetable in North America. You have hundreds of varieties to choose from and can transplant them outside after the last frost, which gives you an opportunity to extend your season. Tomato transplants should grow 4 to 6 inches high in about two months before moving them into the garden.
Instead of shucking store-bought peas, why not experience the pride of shucking peas that emerged from the ground outside your house? Freeze the surplus from your harvest and you'll have peas to use year-round.
9. Bell Pepper
Have you ever watched a bell pepper grow in a garden? It's kind of amazing. They start small, then they gain some length and width, and then the finale is when the robust color shines through the pale green. Depending on how long you let them ripen, you'll get red, orange, yellow, or green. But when you buy this in-store, you're paying a premium. So why not save some cash and grow them at home?
Onions might not be a produce item that you feel like you're spending a lot on at the store. But just because you're used to a certain, fairly low price doesn't mean you need to pay it. Grow your own onions and you'll be saving money over time. Plus, if you plant scallions, they could be ready for eating in 20-30 days!