The soil temperatures have warmed up and we are busy planting our spring vegetable beds. Spring planting can extend the vegetable growing season by over a month in the Chicago area. While the weather is still too unreliable for crops such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers, it is a perfect time for vegetables that perform best in the cool weather. Our gardens are being planted with radish, lettuce, spinach, arugula, chard, kale, carrot, bok choi, and pea seeds. We are also planting broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, leek, and kohlrabi transplants, as well as onion sets.
Many of these crops will be ready to harvest soon after warm season vegetables are planted in the garden. Planting a cool season crop to be replaced by a warm season crop is a good way to maximize space in the garden. Some of our favorite space-saving techniques are to plant onions between pepper plants, arugula beneath tomato plants, lettuce between broccoli, and beets in front of a pea trellis.