Early Crops – Vegetables that can be planted in early May in Zone 4.

Growing Broccoli

When to Plant Broccoli – Early crop in Zone 4.  This is fun to grow if planted early enough.  If the weather gets too hot the broccoli will turn bitter.

How to Plant Broccoli – Grown from plants.

After Planting Broccoli – Dust with Dipel (organic).  This is in the same family as cabbage, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.

Harvesting Broccoli – Cut off heads when formed.  If left on too long the heads will start to set yellow flowers, then forget it!  Pull up the plants and compost!

Growing Brussels Sprouts

When to Plant Brussels Sprouts – Early crop in Zone 4.

How to Plant Brussels Sprouts – Grown from plants.

After Planting Brussels Sprouts – Dust with Dipel (organic).  When they set you need to remove leaves as they grow.

Harvesting Brussels Sprouts – Do not harvest until a light frost in the fall.  By that time my fields are put to bed for the next year so I do not grow this.

Growing Cauliflower

When to Plant Cauliflower – Early crop in Zone 4.

How to Plant Cauliflower – Grown from plants

After Planting Cauliflower – This is a tough vegetable to grow.  You need to dust with Dipel (organic) when you see a small head forming.  Tie leaves up over it.  It needs to be covered so the head will be white.

Harvesting Cauliflower – Check size and if left too long it will turn ‘ricey’ and that’s not good!  Can’t eat it!  I do not grow this vegetable but it’s fun to try.

Growing Kohlrabi

When to Plant Kohlrabi – Early crop in Zone 4, they can be planted early to end of June.

How to Plant Kohlrabi – You can buy starts or start in field by seed.  Row ½ inch deep.  Seed thin.  There are great varieties to plant.  Most garden centers do not have the better one.  A lot of varieties bitter early.

After Planting Kohlrabi – You may have to thin after they come up to about 2 inches apart.

Harvesting Kohlrabi – Pull when bulbs are about 2-3 inches around.  The bulb grows on top of the ground so you can watch it grow.

Growing Lettuce – Greens

When to Plant Lettuce – Early crop in Zone 4, can be planted as soon as you can get in the garden.

How to Plant Lettuce – Plant seeds ½ inch deep.  Sow thin.

After Planting Lettuce – You can thin when plants get 3-4 inches tall.  To thin, just pull out some plants.

Harvesting Lettuce – I do not cut my lettuce when I harvest.  I pull it, and then cut the roots off.  Bring a pail of cold water to your garden if you can.  Dunk the lettuce as you pull, to keep it crisp.  If you can’t bring cold water to your garden, just put it in cold water when you get in the house.  It will crisp up.  Use in fresh salads.

Growing Onion Plants

When to Plant Onion Plants – Early crop in Zone 4.

How to Plant Onion Plants – These need to be planted about 1 ½ to 2 inches deep and about 3 inches apart.

After Planting Onion Plants – I do not pull these for green onions as I want them to grow bigger for summer eating in salads, salsas, on burgers, etc.  Their shoulders come out of the ground, that’s okay, that’s how an onion grows!  Be careful if hoeing, so as not to nick the bulbs.  This can cause a rotten spot.

Harvesting Onion Plants – These tops need to dry down also.  Harvest about August 18-25.  Dry in your garage and then store in paper bags.  These do not store very long, about to Christmas.

Growing Peas

When to Plant Peas – Early crop in Zone 4, as soon as you can get in the garden you can plant.

How to Plant Peas – Make row about 1 inch deep.  Plant 2 seeds together, then move about 6 inches and plant 2 more seeds..

After Planting Peas – They need to climb.  Short varieties do not need fencing.  Fence if plant grows to 2 ½ feet or better.  I use bird netting for fence.  Put lathe in row about 6 feet apart and then staple netting on lathe.   If you let them fall over on the ground it’s hard to harvest them.

Harvesting Peas – You can eat snap peas in the pod.  Shell peas are the kind to shell and cook or eat fresh.  Keep checking size so they do not get too large.

Growing Radishes

When to Plant Radishes – Plant in early spring.  This is a cool crop in Zone 4.

How to Plant Radishes – Plant ½ inch deep.  Try to get the seeds planted thin.  You can add a little sand with the seed to help plant thin.

After Planting Radishes – As they are growing you can thin the plants, this helps the other radishes get bigger.  If just the tops grow and no radish then you soil has too much nitrogen.

Harvesting Radishes – Put in cold water to crisp up.

Growing Rhubarb

When to Plant Rhubarb – Plant in spring.  Can also be divided in spring from old plant.

How to Plant Rhubarb – Plant at same depth, just at the crown of plant.

After Planting Rhubarb – In the fall put compost or manure on it.

Harvesting Rhubarb – Do not pick any rhubarb the first year.

The second year you can start to harvest, about ¼ to 1/3.

The third year you can pick more ½ to ¾.  Do not pick after July 4.  The plant needs to grow and replenish itself.  It’s good to feed it with compost or manure again in the fall.