Spring Fever

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Spring is right around the corner and many gardeners are anxious to get their fingers in the soil. Here are some quick and easy vegetables you can grow right now in containers.

Grow lettuce or spinach in window boxes. Choose a wide container that is about 7 inches deep and fill with a good potting mix. Moisten soil and plant purchased transplants spacing about 5 inches apart. Seeds can also be used by choosing leaf lettuce varieties and sow on the soil surface. Shop for bolt-resistant varieties of spinach that have flat leaves as they are easier to clean than savoy varieties. Replant every 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous harvest.

Root vegetables like carrots and radishes grow well in containers. Choose deep containers that measure one and a half times the mature length. For example, a carrot expected to grow to 8 inches should be planted in a 12-inch deep container. Dwarf varieties like ‘Thumbelina’ or ‘Short ‘n Sweet’ will mature quicker and will not require as deep a container. Space seeds 2 to 4 inches apart depending on the variety grown. Tight spacing results in narrow roots. Harvest when roots start to swell. Replant every 2 to 3 weeks for a continuous harvest.

Peas can be grown in long containers that are at least 6 to 8 inches deep. Window boxes that are 5 gallons in size are a good option. Garden peas, sugar snaps, and snow peas can all be started now. Choose bush or dwarf varieties for planting. Space seeds 2 to 4 inches apart.

Cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower transplants can also be grown in containers. Use a 5-gallon container for each transplant or use a 15-gallon container for 3 plants. Keep a close eye on the plants as hungry caterpillars will be looking for a feast.

Irish potatoes grow well in large deep containers that are over 12 inches deep. Begin with 6 inches of potting mix in the bottom of the container. Place seed potatoes spaced about 9 inches apart on top. Cover seed potatoes with 6 inches of potting mix. Protect the emerging leaves and stems from frost. When the emerging stems reach 6 inches, add additional potting mix to cover the bottom half of the stems. Continue the process until the container is full. Harvest after the plants have flowered and the tops of the plants start to die back. The container can be emptied to harvest the potatoes formed along the stems.

Consider curing your spring fever by growing fresh vegetables for your table.