Start a Small Veggie Garden This Spring

save money, eat well, impress your family & friends

March is National Nutrition month AND the perfect time to plant easy to grow cool weather veggies like lettuce, peas & radishes.  Philadelphia is a great place for gardeners because we have a nice long growing season.  Space tends to be our biggest issue so use containers & think vertical.  There are plenty of vegetables that grow well in cooler weather but lettuce, peas & radishes are great for beginners & urban gardeners.  They don’t need a lot of space & do very well in containers.  You can buy seeds to start yourself or head over to a nursery to pick up some that have already been started for you.  The latter is much easier but a little more expensive.  I always have good luck with the plants I buy from Greensgrow.  I order my seeds online from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Photo of Peas by Craigsyboo from Flickr

Photo of Peas by Craigsyboo from Flickr

growing peas

Start Mid March
Full Sun
Moist Soil
Needs Support
Minimum Soil Depth 10″ (I’m going 12″ to be safe)

I used to start them right in the ground near a fence so I didn’t have to think about anything but weed prevention. This year is a little different because I will have to grow them in a container on my roof deck & add support.  I found these tutorials very helpful.

“How to Grow Peas in Container Gardens”
“Build a Bamboo Trellis”

growing lettuce

Start End of March
Partial Shade
Moist Soil
Minimum Soil Depth 6″

If you grow anything this year make it lettuce; it is so easy to grow from seed & grows very quickly.  Simply sprinkle seeds on some nice fresh dirt, cover them lightly with some more dirt & water well.  For more in depth instructions see below.

“How to Grow Your Own Gourmet Lettuce from Seed”

growing radishes

Start End of March
Sun to Part Shade
Moist Soil
Minimum Soil Depth 6″-12″ (the deeper the pot the less you have to water & the cooler the soil will be)

Radishes are another plant that are ridiculously easy to start from seed & grow very quickly.  You want to keep the soil moist & cool or else you’ll have spicy/woody radishes.  Yuck.  Also, did you know that radish greens are edible?

“How to Plant Radishes in Containers”

growing faq’s for philadelphia

Philadelphia is located in Zone 7
Average last frost is around April 20th (after that it’s tomato time!!)

**Take note that the further you are from downtown the cooler it will be – last frost could be about a week later.**