Yes, It’s Time to Plant Early Greens



Written by: Kevin Milaeger

April 2nd, 2024


Many folks are wary about planting cold hardy greens at this time of year. We’ve been doing it for so many years that I have absolutely no qualms about recommending planting at this time. Of course you have to use your head. For example, if we recommend a date of April 1 for planting the hardy greens, and we have snowfall on that day, or maybe we are in the middle of an extra cold snap, then wait until it passes. Its best for the plants, if, once planted, there is a stretch of fairly mild weather for them to get a decent foothold. Its just common sense.


Dave Milaegers with Greens to Grow


This year our Greens to Grow program has much to offer. We’ve made a few changes, always trying a few new varieties. Lettuce is our biggest category. We prefer the leaf lettuces because you can harvest them early, and continue harvesting them as they grow. We have about 21 kinds of lettuce, but we prefer the red/burgundy types as they are the most nutritious and they add color to a salad. Check out two new types—‘Cegolaine’ and ‘Lunix.’ Spinach can also be planted now and we have several types. I like the flat leaf kinds because the wrinkle leaf types often get dirt caught up in the wrinkles and so take more prep time. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and collards, all cold crops, love the cool weather and can also be planted now. Our current offering also includes arugula, kale, Brussels sprouts, celery, chard, and endive. But for me the most important and fun thing to plant early is mustard greens. We have five kinds including a new one called ‘Green Wave.’ These plants are unrelated to the mustard condiment. They are eaten simply as raw greens. I wouldn’t call them hot, but they definitely have a spicy tang. But, perception of heat is subjective so you should try for yourselves. Every gardener that I’ve spoken with about the “heat” agrees that it dissipates quickly, in just a few seconds. Unlike say, jalapeño peppers where the heat stays in your mouth for a while. The mustard greens really liven up a salad. I use them in moderation, maybe a couple leaves chopped up and added to a large salad. If the spiciness is a bit much for you, just use less in a salad and enjoy their ornamental value. The mustard plants are beautiful, especially the burgundy colored sorts. I wouldn’t doubt that some folks grow them just for their ornamental value. Like the leaf lettuces, you can harvest the leaves a little at a time, as the plant continues to grow.


Photo courtesy of


Lettuce 'Australian Yellow' (loose leaf)

Photo courtesy of

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/

Lettuce 'Lunix' (oakleaf)


Photo courtesy of

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/

Lettuce 'Flashy Trout's Back' (romaine)

Photo courtesy of


Spinach 'Tyee'


Your early gardening needn’t stop with greens. You can also plant rhubarb, asparagus, onions—from sets or seed, radishes from seed, and garlic. For me radishes are the most fun. I recommend sharing the experience with kids. Radishes grow very quickly and are pretty fool proof. Germination varies with the temperature, but usually five days or so. When they are an inch or more tall, thin them out. Keep them evenly watered—very important. You can harvest the early types in as little as a month. Its very gratifying, and the flavor is incomparable.


Photo courtesy of

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/

Mustard 'Green Wave' (spice green)

Photo courtesy of

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/

Mustard 'Red Giant'


Photo courtesy of


Brussels Sprouts 'Diablo'

Photo courtesy of


Cauliflower 'Snow Crown'


If you’re ready for some spring color, we have a selection of tough flowering plants that are ready now, and can be planted any time. Pansies are available in many colors and are so cheerful. Snapdragons for some vertical accent. Alyssum for edging or trailing. Dianthus, their starry flowers are usually pink or red, sometimes bicolors, and often very fragrant. Stock, that wonderful old-fashioned plant, also with a sweet, heady fragrance. Large flowered anemone available in blue is another charmer. And the exquisite flowers of ranunculus in numerous colors such as orange, red, yellow, and pink. So much is available to brighten your garden!








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April 2024 - Yes, It’s Time to Plant Early Greens

January 2024 - Try Some New Vegetables, Or Maybe Some Old Ones!


August 2023 - Slow, but Steady Tomatoes

June 2023 - Plants Look Good, Keeping Fingers Crossed

May 2023 - Time for Vintage Veggies!

April 2023 - Early Spring Garden Update

January 2023 - January in the Greenhouse


October 2022 - The Fun Miracle of Seed

August 2022 - End of August Garden Review

July 2022 - A Bit of Garden Levity

July 2022 - A New Tomato Problem

June 2022 - Unda Unda! An Italian Tomato Salad

June 2022 - The Dreaded Blossom End Rot

June 2022 - Tomato Test and Cucumber Review

May 2022 - Is it Safe to Plant? Do You Feel Lucky?

April 2022 - Fun with Turtles & My Favorite Tool

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February 2022 - I See the Future and it’s Green


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July 2021 - Putzing with Pumpkins

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June 2021 - Late Spring Garden Update

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April 2016 - Go Outside---It's Time for Planting!

March 2016 - Yep! ----It's Time to Plant Greens!

March 2016 - The Quest for the Perfect Tomato

March 2016 - Think Green! It's almost time to plant

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January 2016 - Tomato Disease --- What can you do?

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September 2014 - Tomatomania Results by Category or Cummulative

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May 2014 - Garden Update --- the Cold Weather Experiment

May 2014 - Is it Time to Plant Tomatoes?

May 2014 - Vintage Veggies #4 and Vintage Veggies List 2014

April 2014 - A Chilly Spring... What Can I Plant Now?

March 2014 - Start Growing Your Own Food Right Now

February 2014 - Greens to Grow   (Click here for Spreadsheet)


October 2013 - Keep Calm and Garden On!

October 2013 - Autumn Vegetables

September 2013 - Tomato Popularity Poll Results Blog

September 2013 - Tomatomania Category and Cumulative Results

September 2013 - Tomatomania 2013 BlogVideo and T-Shirt

August 2013 - Greens to Grow and Spreadsheet

July 2013 - Spaghetti Squash

July 2013 - New Tomato and Zucchini Recipe Blog

July 2013 - Tomato and Zucchini Recipe

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May 2013 - Tomatoes in Containers

May 2013 - Vintage Veggies 2013

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April 2013 - It's Planting Time

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March 2013 - Greens to Grow Update

February 2013 - Hot Peppers

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July 2011 - Vegetables in my Garden

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August 2010 - Flowers Late Summer Color 

July 2010 - Vegetables Cukes and Tomatoes 

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