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Vegetables that Enjoy the Cool, Early Weather of Spring

Start them early, but enjoy them for weeks.

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The first vine ripened tomato may still be a few months away, but there’s plenty to keep you busy in the vegetable garden. Take advantage of the cool, wet weather of spring to put in multiple crops of peas and lettuce. It’s also a great time to get your perennial vegetables, like asparagus and rhubarb, started.

1. Asparagus

Growing Asparagus
Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.
There aren't many perennial vegetable crops, vegetables you can plant once and harvest for many years to come. Looking forward to the first tender, pencil sized spears of asparagus poking through in the garden is a rite of spring. If you thought you didn’t like asparagus, you haven’t tried it freshly picked.

2. Lettuce

Rows of Heirloom Lettuce
Marie Iannotti
Lettuce may take a little protection to get it going in the early spring, but, oh, it never tastes better than when it’s grown in the crisp spring air. Cool, wet springs are perfect lettuce growing weather. It won’t bolt and you’ll probably have time for 2-3 succession plantings.

3. Peas

Pea 'Snow Sweet' (Pisum sativum)
Photo: © National Garden Bureau, Inc. Used with Permission.
There’s a tradition of planting the first peas on St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t always get to take part in that tradition because of the snow covering my vegetable garden. However even in years when I managed to get out there early, the peas I planted in April quickly caught up to the peas I planted in March. They might like it warmer than freezing, but they don’t like heat. So don’t miss the opportunity. Get out their and plant a crop of shelling peas or snow peas or sugar snap peas...

4. Rhubarb

Rhubarb Stalks
Photo: Ayla87 / stock.xchng
Rhubarb: Vegetable or Fruit? Rhubarb is another perennial gem of the vegetable garden. Or is it a fruit? It’s a shame rhubarb is so underused in cooking, because it’s really easy to grow. Once you get your bed established, you can look forward to a rhubarb harvest every spring.

5. Spinach

Growing Spinach
Photo: © Getty Images. Used with Permission.
Spinach is a cool weather lover and it grows extremely quickly - which means you don’t have to wait long to enjoy it, but you’ll also have to keep planting new spinach, to extend the harvest. Getting spinach to grow is easy. Keeping your spinach growing takes some finesse. But it's worth it. Fresh spinach is crisper, tangier and more tender than any you'll find in a cellophane bag. And it can grow in the shade of crops that will be taking off just as your spinach fades.
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