Best Vegetables To Plant In Early Spring

various vegetables grouped together

Best Vegetables to plant early spring that you can plant directly into the garden are those that thrive in cooler environments such as leafy vegetables including lettuce, spinach, kale and well as many of the root vegetables such as carrots, onions, and potatoes. Even if you are still encountering some frosty mornings these vegetables are safe to plant right now! These plants are frost resistant and actually prefer cooler weather. As long as the soil is workable and not too wet from the melting snow, grab the gloves and hoe and start prepping. 


Lettuce is an easy to grow leafed vegetable with minimal care and provides many varieties from baby greens to iceberg to buttercrunch. Performs well in rows in a garden to containers. If planting in a row, consider lettuce seed tape which seeds are placed on easy to dissolve paper tape. This standardizes spacing and therefore eliminates the issues of over or under seeding. Though this is a cool weather plant, it can grow in warmer weather, but the warmer the weather the quicker it will bolt which signifies the end of its life cycle.

Full Sun to partly shady

¼-½ inches of soil, thin if growing for full sized leaves, if growing for baby greens all seeds to grow close together in the row

Lettuce seed tape available and extremely convenient 


Similar to lettuce, spinach is a cool weather plant with the tastiest and tenderest leaves produced in early to late spring. As the weather gets hot, leaves toughen and plants can bolt much quicker. It is quite frost resistant and is fast growing, meaning you can start to harvest baby spinach in only 3-4 weeks and can produce for months. 

Full sun to partial shade

¼-½ inches of soil, thin if growing for full sized leaves, if growing for baby greens all seeds to grow close together in the row

Enjoys moist and well drained soil

Spinach seed tape available and extremely convenient 


Carrots are a garden favorite and one of the best vegetables for early spring planting. A cool weather crop, seeds can be sown as soon as the soil can be worked.  As a root vegetable, which can grow 7-8 inches or longer, it is recommended that you work / loosen the soil up to 8-10 inches. In the early spring weather, carrot seeds can take anywhere from 10-17 days to germinate so some degree of patience is required. As the temperature warms, and through the summary months, make sure they have plenty of water for good root growth.

Full Sun: 6-8 hours of sunlight

Loosen, break up soil 8-10 inches prior to planting

Prefers well drained sandy or loamy soil

Seeds should be planted ¼ to ½ inches deep, about 2-3 inch in between, again due to their small size seed tape is a convenient option.


Onions are an early spring vegetable that are relatively simple to plant and grow. Onions are sold as sets or seedlings in bare-root bundles. These are planted in raised rows in full sun. Augment your soil by mixing a couple inches of compost and keep your soil moist as onions have shallow roots and can be stressed if soil becomes dry.

Full Sun

Plant 1 inch deep, so roots are well covered but top of sets neck is just covered 

Prefers well drained loamy soil with high organic matter

Raised rows are recommended; space sets 6-12 inches apart 


 Potatoes are another cool weather plant, ideal for early spring planting. Seed potatoes can be planted as cut pieces and should be planted when soil temperature is about 50 degrees fahrenheit. This is about 2 weeks prior to your region’s last frost date. Better success can be achieved by about 4-5 weeks prior to planting, moving seed potatoes to warm dark area and then 2 weeks prior to planting expose them to light. This will stimulate eyes to start to sprout and then can be planted. This is not required but as noted above, can lead to better germination success.

Full sun

Plant 2 inches deep about 12 inches apart

Fertile well drained soil

Recommended to hill plants when they are about 8 inches tall or another option is to add mulch to the base of each plant


A great addition to every garden, peas are easy to grow, flavorful and sweet. Snap peas and shell peas are some of my favorites and even the kids love to eat them fresh out of the garden. As every vegetable on this list, peas are a cool season plant and can be planted several weeks prior to the last frost of spring. Yield can be maximized by planting seeds every week for several weeks. Peas will stop producing when temperatures get too hot therefore the earlier you can plant the better. 

Full sun preferred 

Plant 1 to 1 ½ inches deep and about 6 inches apart 

Most vining varieties and may need trellis to support vines, compact variety are available for small spaces

Soil should be well drain, mixed with compost 


Even when there is frost in the morning and the soil is cool to the touch there is still gardening to be done! The best vegetables to plant in early spring are those that are frost resistant and prefer cool weather. These vegetables are some of the most popular and would be a great addition to almost any garden.

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