Spring can be an exciting time to grow. Do you hold off for another week or two in case of any last-minute freezes, or do you get going now? One of the many advantages of growing in a Tower Garden is that it extends your growing season, both at the beginning and the end of the season. If you haven’t started planning your garden, what are you waiting for? NOW IS THE TIME to do so. Clean your Tower and plan your Tower Garden Spring crops so you are ready to plant as soon as the last frost has passed.
If a last-minute frost is forecast, you can bring your Tower close to the house, cover it, use a submersible heater, or even bring it inside the house or garage for the night.
Here are eleven crops that you can start right now. They quite like the cooler weather. In fact, some thrive in cooler weather. Just be sure to protect them from a frost if one is forecast. The frost can still damage the leaves, especially if they are young seedlings.
Strawberries are a customer favorite and a great Tower Garden Spring Crop, with good reason! Strawberries topped the EWG’s 2023 Dirty Dozen for the 8th year running. If you’re not familiar with this list, it’s the twelve produce items that contained the highest amount of pesticides.
These sweet berries are pretty easy to grow in an outside Tower Garden, but they can be grown inside provided you pollinate them. Strawberry plants are also small enough that you can grow them in the regular growing pots as well as the Baby Greens growing pots too!
Strawberries will grow well until temperatures start to regularly hit more than 85 F. Learn more about Growing Strawberries in the Tower Garden.
Buy Strawberry Seedlings, ready to transplant into your Tower Garden.
Spinach is another favorite of ours, and it’s also regularly in the EWGs Dirty Dozen and is number two this year. Spinach is a cool weather crop that will struggle as soon as temperatures hit the 80s, so get it planted early! It’s relatively easy to grow but will it will be one of the first to bolt in the heat.
We’ve noticed many people struggle to germinate Spinach seeds. We definitely see a lower germination rate with spinach than we do with other crops. If you’re struggling too, check out “3 Reasons Why Your Seeds Didn’t Germinate?” or order spinach seedlings here.
Kale is a great crop to grow now, especially if your temperatures are going to heat up quickly. It’s a cool weather crop that gets a little sweeter after a freeze, but it also grows well through temperatures in the mid-90s in Tower Garden. You’ll be able to start harvesting in as little as 28 days, but you’ll likely be growing and harvesting from the same kale plant for 6 months or more! You get a lot of bang for your buck with kale!
There are many different varieties, including Green Curly Kale, Red Russian Kale and Toscano or Lacinato Kale.
As many of you know, lettuce is traditionally a cooler weather crop when grown in soil. One of the great things about growing lettuce is you go from a seedling to a full head in just four weeks. All varieties grow well in the cool weather and there are some heat-tolerant varieties that will grow well into the low 90s in a Tower Garden too. Lettuce will bolt and turn tough and bitter as it gets older. Be sure to start some seeds around two weeks after planting lettuce seedlings in the Tower. This will ensure they will be ready to transplant to the Tower when your lettuce is ready to be harvested. You can always just purchase seedlings ready to go into the Tower instead.
Cabbage is a brassica, so it thrives in cool weather. Unlike Kale and Lettuce, it won’t grow well when temperatures are in the 80s and above.
It’s going to take about 2-3 months until it’s ready to harvest, so bear that in mind when planting cabbage in your Tower Garden. Be sure to plant it early enough!
Broccoli is another brassica, so like cabbage, it thrives in cool weather and will bolt when temperatures are above 80.
It’s going to take close to 3 months for the head to form, but you can eat, juice, and saute some of the leaves while you wait. Make sure you don’t harvest too many at once! After all, the leaves are like the plant’s solar panels and are necessary. This goes for all crops! Harvest too many leaves and the crop won’t get the energy it needs to form the head.
We offer Belstar and Happy Rich Broccoli Seedlings.
Get a jump start on your ground-growing friends with Tower Garden!
Guess what? Cauliflower is another brassica! Can you see the pattern emerging here? Cauliflower thrives in those cooler temperatures, so get Cauliflower growing before it hits 80 F. When it’s too hot the head won’t close up and it will bolt.
Cauliflower is going to take close to 3 months to form a head. Like Broccoli, you can eat, juice, and saute some of the leaves. Just remember not to remove too many or you’ll slow down the head formation.
We offer Snow Crown and Cheddar Cauliflower seedlings.
Now, this is one of my favorites! Romanesco is another brassica, so it grows best when temperatures are under 80 and will take close to 3 months to form a full head. It’s light green with cone-shaped florets with a mild nutty taste, which many consider to be milder than both cauliflower and broccoli. You can prepare it in the same ways you would both cauliflower and broccoli.
Romanesco can be more difficult to find than broccoli and cauliflower, so growing it yourself is a great idea. Romanesco seedlings will save you about 2-3 weeks versus starting your own seeds.
Pac Choi, also known as Bok Choy is a Chinese Celery Cabbage and another brassica. Pac Choi will grow in warmer temperatures, like kale and lettuce.
Most commonly used in Asian cooking it has a mild flavor that is slightly sweet with a hint of bitterness. It is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. It also contains antioxidants, which can help to protect the body against oxidative stress and inflammation. My favorite way to cook it is to stir-fry it with onion, garlic, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes!
Both green and red Pac Choi are available and we have seedlings for both! You’ll also find Pac Choi in the Elegance Greens Mix.
Arugula is a leafy green that is native to the Mediterranean region that is also a brassica. Like Kale and lettuce, you’ll be growing arugula deep into the summer months. It has a very distinct, peppery flavor with a slight bitterness. The taste can vary with the variety and age of the arugula, with younger leaves being tender and milder in flavor.
Arugula grows fast, compared to other brassicas, so you’ll be harvesting it within about 3-4 weeks.
Peas are a cool-weather crop that can grow in the spring or fall. When your temperatures are near 80 they will brown and die off. As they are a fruit-producing crop, they’ll need at least 8 hours of direct sun to really thrive. The tendrils will grab hold of anything and everything, so we recommend a cage or trellis for them to climb.
All types of peas can be grown, but we currently offer Sugar Snap Pea seedlings.
So there you have it! Those are eleven crops that thrive in temperatures close to freezing, so you can get growing early. This is not an exhaustive list, by any means. Our cold-tolerant seedlings can be found here. If you’re in the south of the US, you’ll be able to start growing these early in the spring or near the end of the winter.
What are you waiting for? Get growing!