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Early Spring Crops

Cool-season vegetables can be grown as a fall or early spring crop. The following recommendations are specific to early spring crops.

In Middle Tennessee it is recommended to plant cool season veggies near the later part of the recommended planting dates. In West Tennessee, you can plant on the earlier end of the dates. 

Remember that information about days to first harvest, length of the harvest season and yield all are subject to considerable variation. The actual figures will depend on the variety of the plant grown, the weather, how much they were sang to, and many other factors.

Early Spring Crops

Cabbage

Varieties: Round green types, Stonehead 

Planting Interval: February 20 to April 1 

Space between rows: 24 – 36 inches 

Space between plants: 15 inches 

Days to first harvest: 60 to 75 days

Length of harvest season: 3 weeks   

Harvest when cabbage heads become firm and heavy. Some varieties of cabbage can produce 1 to 3 pound heads!

“Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”   -Mark Twain   

Radish

Varieties: White Icicle, Cherry Belle, Champion 

Planting Interval: February 15 to April 15 

Space between rows: 14 – 36 inches 

Space between plants: 1 - 2 inches 

Days to first harvest: 25 to 30 days 

Length of harvest season: 3 weeks 

Pull as soon as the roots mature. The radish should be firm and brilliantly colored. Oversized radishes often crack and are tough or woody.  

Plant a radish, get a radish, never any doubt. That's why I love vegetables, you know what they're about!           - Tom Jones


Lettuce

Varieties: Buttercrunch, Iceberg 

Planting Interval: February or March 

Space between rows: 14 – 36 inches 

Space between plants: 12 - 15 inches 

Days to first harvest: 65 to 80 days 

Length of harvest season: 2 - 3 weeks 

Lettuce should be harvested when full size, but just before maturity.  Lettuce is best young, when it is tender and mild flavored. Mature lettuce gets bitter and woody. It will also spoil very quickly, so be sure to check your garden everyday!   

You don't want to make a steady diet of just lettuce. You don't want to make a steady diet of fried chicken.                                                          - Paula Deen  

Potatoes

Varieties: Cobbler, Kennebec, Yukon Gold, Red Pontiac 

Planting Interval: March 

Space between rows: 30 – 36 inches 

Space between plants: 12 inches 

Days to first harvest: 90 to 110 days 

Length of harvest season: 4 months stored 

Dig potatoes on a dry day. Dig up gently, being careful not to puncture the tubers. For immediate use, harvest after tubers are 1 inch in diameter. For storage, Harvest after vines have died and skin has set. 

  “Every single diet I ever fell off of was because of potatoes and gravy of some sort.” - Dolly Parton

  

Carrots

Varieties: Danvers, Nantes, Little Finger

Planting Interval: March 1 to April 1 

Space between rows: 14 – 36 inches 

Space between plants: 2 - 3 inches 

Days to first harvest: 75 to 85 days 

Length of harvest season: 4 - 6 weeks 

Carrots are mature at around 2 ½ months and ½ inch in diameter. You may harvest whenever desired maturity is reached. The roots will be firm and brittle. 

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” - Jim Davis

Spinach

Varieties: Longstanding, Bloomsdale, Tyee, Melody 

Planting Interval: February 

Space between rows: 14 – 36 inches 

Space between plants: 3 – 4 inches 

Days to first harvest: 40 to 50 days 

Length of harvest season: 3 weeks 

Spinach is ready to harvest when leaves are crisp and dark green. 

”I'm strong to the finich, 'cause I eats me Spinach, I'm Popeye the sailor man! (toot, toot).”  - Popeye (from the theme song)