We live in Southern Michigan and gardening for us starts as soon as the ground thaws letting us harvest fresh vegetables earlier then most. Its a great way to extend your harvest, have healthy salads and home grown veggies on your dinner table earlier and its a great way to get out of the house and enjoy that little bit of sunshine and warmth after a long cold winter before the mushroom hunting starts a few weeks later.
Not everything will tolerate the cooler temps here though so you do have to be careful of what you plant. I always go with varieties that have the shortest grow time, letting me plant, harvest and then use the space come summer for the hot weather crops and then planting another cool weather garden in the fall when temps start to drop. The result is fresh veggies, during mild winters like this one, into January ! Being able to pick kale, swiss chard and pull a few carrots is a blessing this time of year.
My favorite spring garden vegetables
Spinach ~ Once it gets to warm it will bolt so make sure you harvest before hand.
Kale ~ So hardy I can still harvest some from the garden & its almost February. During the spring and summer it goes into many salads here along with lots of dishes. Kale with bacon is a must have dish every week.
Lettuce ~ I have mixed feelings on lettuce but it still gets a place in the garden. Mixed with spinach and kale it makes a healthy vitamin enriched salad that can not be beat.
Peas ~ This year we are skipping things like green beans, which are delicious but take far to much of my time to harvest ( The husband is insisting I find ways to cut down my chores this year some so I am not so busy and stressed ) but peas are staying ! I harvest early so I don’t have the shell them and they are so good in so many things they are worth the picking.
Carrots ~ Plant early for harvest come summer. Plant again for the fall harvest or let them winter over in the ground. We love Danvers. They are short and fat and work great in our clay & rock infested soil.
Swiss Chard ~ Delicious and great to have around once the spinach goes to seed. It is also fairly hardy and even now I can harvest some for dinner.
Cabbage ~ If you love sauerkraut double up on the planting making sure to leave plenty of space in between.
Brussel Sprouts ~ Best grown in the fall garden since a touch of frost makes them sweeter but still great without it !!
Chinese Cabbage ( bok choy ) ~ A must for stir fry
Potatoes ~ We usually plant twice. Once early, then again later for another harvest.
Broccoli ~ We can never have enough planted. Cauliflower works well also !
garlic ~ Love it and still have never been able to grow enough to keep us stocked up for a year !! Grown as an annual but does amazingly well as a perennial
Parsnips ~ Will tolerate anything. Sweet and savory, they are amazingly delicious !