Five Garden Superstars

Spring is upon us, which means it’s time to reconnect with our gardens. But before you plant, remember, the most successful gardens begin with nutrient-rich soil. Prepare your soil by adding compost and by mounding the row to improve drainage. Peas, radishes, carrots, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, onion, and spinach seeds can be planted outside in spring. Here are a few favorites.

Sugar Sprint Peas

Dig a trench 4 inches deep and 6 inches wide. Plant seeds about 1 inch apart. Dust them with pea inoculum to improve the uptake of nitrogen from the atmosphere. Top with one inch of soil. Keep the seeds watered, but not soggy. As they grow, add soil to keep the roots cool. These peas don’t need to be trellised. Both the pod and the peas are delicious raw or quickly steamed or sautéed. Harvest in 56 days.

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Hakurei Turnips

This is not your old-fashioned, late-season turnip. These small, pure white turnips are harvested when about 3 inches in diameter. Delicious fresh or sautéed in butter, the root is crisp with a smooth texture and has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. Plant the seeds in bands 2–4 inches wide, 1–2 inches apart. Harvest in 40–50 days.

Hestia Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts have enjoyed a culinary resurgence for their sweet, cabbage flavor. Plant clusters of three seeds 18 inches apart. When the seedlings emerge, thin each clump to one plant. To harvest, break off individual sprouts as they mature, about 90 days from planting. This variety matures early, yet keeps well in the field, so you have a larger window of time to harvest.

Imperial Star Artichoke

This variety is fun to grow, and the architecture of the plant is striking. Start seeds indoors in mid-March. Plant two to three seeds in 3 -inch pots or recycled cell packs. Germinate and thin to one plant per pot. By late April, plant outside. The plants require at least 10 days of night temperatures of 45–50°, but keep them from freezing. Harvest in 85 days.

Rover Radish

This variety remains crisp and sweet longer than most radishes and is ready to harvest in 21 days. What’s not to love? Sow seeds in a 3-inch band, ¾ inch apart. Keep the moisture even to encourage tender, mild, and crisp radishes.