Pssst… Come closer. I have a secret to tell you… I don’t like gardening in the Summer.
Here, I said it. Here is the South, Summers are wet as the ocean, humid as a sauna, hot like a furnace, and don’t even start me on the bugs… Especially the mosquitos!
I still garden in the Summer, of course, but I much prefer the Fall garden or the early Spring garden. There are much fewer bugs, I don’t need to water almost at all, it is nice and cool so working outside is easier, and it’s not as wet and humid as in the Summer. Thankfully, there are a ton of cold-weather crops to grow in the Spring and Fall garden.
So, every year, after I clean my raised garden beds from the Summer garden or the Winter garden, I plant a bunch of cold-weather crops. Some of them are not easy to grow, for example, cabbage or broccoli. Others are as simple as can be.
When I say “easy crops to grow” I mean…
1. Easy to plant (can be direct seeded).
2. Can be started early (as soon as the soil can be worked).
3. No special soil requirements.
4. No pests (or almost no pests problems).
5. Useful in the kitchen and easy to handle.
6. Fast growing (less than 60 days).
Before I start down the list, let me remind you that I am gardening in the South, zone 7b. I believe those 5 crops will grow well and easy everywhere, but you might need to adjust planting times and care according to your climate.
5 Easiest Cold Weather Crops to Grow in Your Spring or Fall Garden
Lettuce: who doesn’t like lettuce? The crisp, juicy, sweet leaves are the perfect base of every good salad and a must ingredient in most sandwiches.
lettuce seeds can be direct seeded as early as the soil can be worked (soil temperature around 40F) in the Spring, or when temperatures cool down a bit at the end of Summer. Sow 8-10 inches apart. Since those seeds are tiny and it might be hard to space them correctly, consider making seed tapes ahead of time or use tweezers, this way you won’t have to thin later. Lettuce grows best at 60-65F and will be ready for harvest around 56 days. I sow them in the middle of March and harvest at the end of April, right when summer crops need to be sown (I harvest a bit early since I have a small garden, and I need the real estate for Summer crops). I never had problems with pests when it comes to lettuce and as long as you have decent soil you’ll get great lettuce, of course, compost makes everything better so don’t hesitate to mix it in your soil before planting or add it around the plants later.