In early spring, there are four basic options for planting your edible garden:

  • Seed indoors: Plant your seeds in a seed-starting setup indoors; your goal is to give them a head-start so that when the conditions are right and you transplant them outdoors, they will be able to grow to maturity much more quickly than if you had just put them in the ground as seeds.
  • Sow seeds: Plant your seeds outdoors! Keep in mind that they have to be pretty hardy buggers to go directly in the ground in very early spring; even if you do get the plants to start growing, they can be stopped cold (so to speak) by even the most moderate winter weather.
  • Plant starts: Plant plants that have been grown in a controlled environment (like your seed-starting setup, or someone else’s production greenhouse) out into the garden; baby plants aren’t as weak as seeds…but they’re still not strong, so it’s wise to keep a close eye on them.
  • Use a season extender: Used in combination with sowing seeds or planting starts, season extenders like cloches, cold frames, and floating row covers can mean the difference between plants surviving and succumbing!

The chart below lays out your options for planting a whole mess of plants in February, March, and April. Bold instructions are, generally speaking, best options. Dark green cells indicate that you don’t have (m)any options for that crop in that month.

IG Spring Planting Chart

And one more thing: when referencing information like this, remember to always pay attention to what’s actually happening in your garden space. The coolest chart in the world about what you should be able to do doesn’t mean much when the weather outside is especially frightful!!