EARLY SPRING BOX
The Early Spring Box was developed with cold tolerant varieties that love cooler temperatures. Want to see a complete planting guide? Click HERE to view our zine.
Here's a list of the plants in the Early Spring box.
Let's try broccoli again! Based on the feedback we got from having broccoli in the fall/winter box, here are some tips and reasons why your broccoli may not have made it last season. Broccoli needs LOTS of water to grow well and need about 6 hours of sun a day.
What we saw last season was people's broccoli's bolting before having the chance to harvest. This is because we are used to buying these huge broccoli from the store, so you see your broccoli still on the small side and think "I'll wait to harvest until it gets bigger!". BUT, your broccoli, although small, may be at its final growing point. Once you start to see separation in the bulbs, even if your broccoli is small, it's time to harvest. It may be that small because of a number of reasons, the main ones being: not enough water or pests stunting it's growth.
So, this time around, water your broccoli daily and harvest AS SOON as the bulbs start to seperate.
The reason the broccoli we buy is so big is because they get the right amount of water, every single day. Don't beat yourself up for forgetting to water! But enjoy your broccoli at whatever size it grows to!
Brussel sprouts take a very long time to grow! They are tolerant of cooler weather but NEED their water and partial sun. They are very susceptible to pests and pests can be the end all to your Brussel sprouts if not taken care of quickly. There's lots of little crevices the pests can go hide into so check them often to make sure there aren't any unwanted visitors. The Brussel sprouts can be harvested when they are firm to the touch with only a tiny bit of give. You don't want them to be squeezable, that means they're bad, but you also don't want them to be as hard as a rock.
This may be my personal favorite veggie we're sending in the box. I love these grilled up and added to tacos SO GOOD. Once they are planted and begin to grow to be about 4-5 inches in height, it's a good idea to thin them out so they have about 1 inch of space between each sprout so you can big bulbs come harvest time (check out our blog about thinning here). They will be ready to harvest when plants reach 6-8" tall, while the stalks are still white at the bottom and fairly thin.
Cauliflower will be in the XL box! Cauliflower and broccoli and very very similar. They need lots of water to grow well and can handle cooler weather. They still do need partial sun, just like any plant does. Harvesting cauliflower can be tricky, just like it can be for the broccoli. The cauliflower will grow to its largest size and be ready to harvest but be smaller than the cauliflower you usually grow at the grocery store. The main things to look for when harvesting is compact bulbs as soon as you see separation in the bulbs it's time to harvest, no matter what size the cauliflower head is! The smaller size can be caused by many different things: not enough water, not enough sun, pests stunting it's growth, it wasn't hardened properly, the weather being too cold at night and so on! Just keep an eye at the bulbs and make sure to harvest as soon as you see the separation come.
Celery is made up of mostly water and because of this it takes a while to grow. Since it's going to take a little longer to grow than the other plants we send, we recommend placing it somewhere in your garden bed where it can stay put while the other plants grow, harvest and get pulled out at the end of the season. So you can place the celery in the corner of your garden bed that way you can take out what's done and get the space ready for your next box without having to disturb the celery that may still be growing! They will be ready to harvest when they are about 3 inches in diameter and before they begin to separate in the middle and start to grow outward. It's better to look at those characteristics than to look at the size of the celery. Once you see it begin to separate in the middle and they are about 3 inches in diameter, enjoy!
Harvest the chives 30 days after planting and cut the chives about an 1inch to 2inches above the soil so they continue to grow more!
Endive is something you may or may not have heard of before but is a fun and easy veggie to grow. They grow vertically from the soil and are in the same family as lettuce. With that being said, and I sound like a broken record, but endives will need: a sunny spot to live and lots of water! Lettuce varieties bolt quiet easily if not given enough sun (more explanation on our blog here) so to avoid that, make sure to grow lettuce where they have direct sun for at least half the day. Endive will be ready to harvest when leaves are 4-6 inches tall! You can cut the endive off right above soil level and another will start to grow.
The lemon balm can be harvested as the plant grows. You don't want to harvest more than 1/3 at a time and they will taste best when the flower buds grow and begin the bloom!
Mint and oregano look very similar so plant them separately so you don't get them mixed up! The smells and taste are different so you can always differentiate them that way. Harvest the mint as needed but the longer you leave them the more flavorful and larger the leaves get! When harvested, pull from the outside in.
These are loose leaf greens that work great to make a salad! We got arugula, green leaf, spinach and other types of leafy greens seeds to make this! This plant does like the sun, so make sure it's in an area that gets sun for at least half the day. You'll get more growth the more sun it has!
Mustard leafy greens are a great additive to a salad or stir fry to give a great pepper taste! They taste a lot like radish or arugula in being a bit spicy. They will need full to partial sun and are lovers of some cold weather making them perfect for early spring! They will grow rapidly taking anywhere from 4-6 weeks to mature. Once the leaves are to the size you like, you can harvest from the outside in leaving the growing point in the center untouched to allow for continual growth!
Oregano herbs grow sort of like a bush if left unharvested! Don't harvest more than 1/3 of the plant at a time, so it doesn't go into shock and die and always harvest from the outermost layer first. Wait until the oregano growth gets to be about the size of your palm to harvest.
You can harvest your parsley as it grows, as long as you harvest from the outside in and do not harvest more than 1/3 at a time!
Peas are fun and easy to grow! They are viney plants that grow upwards so a trellis is very important to add! Add a trellis as soon as the pea gets to be about 4-5 inches tall or when it starts to flop over. You can use a popsicle sticks when they are young and then upgrade the trellis to something larger like a piece of PVC pipe or a larger piece of wood. Add some string around the base, middle and top of the stem for support. Don't tie it tight, you still want the stem to be able to be the freeway of nutrients to the plant! You'll see flowers start to bloom and that's a good sign! From those flowers are where the peas will grow. You can pick the peas when they're small and thin and eat them as sugar snap peas, or wait until the peas inside the pod get larger! It's up to you. Pick as they grow and see what you like best.
Radicchio is a lot like cabbage! Same with the cabbage, they will stay small if not given enough water. They tolerate the cold, but not a hard freeze so if it gets cold in your area cover them up at night. They will be ready to harvest heads when they are firm to touch. The radicchio can be ready to harvest at a small size or a big larger, but give it a squeeze and if it gives, wait a little longer. You want to harvest when you give it a squeeze and is firm meaning there's a good amount of layers to enjoy! Since this is similar to cabbage, there is such thing as cabbage worms that will eat up your veggies if given the chance so make sure to keep an eye out and shoo them off as soon as you see them!
Sage will take quite a long time to grow to be large. But as long as you harvest regularly and keep watering the sage can grow to be large. Sage harvesting can be done at almost any time, but you'll get the best flavor when you pick leaves before the plant blooms. You can extend harvesting by picking off flowers as the buds develop!
The spinach is going to be so great to have in your garden but will be susceptible to caterpillars because of their tasty leaves! The spinach can literally grow to be a bush of spinach if you let it! Seriously, huge spinach leaves will grow if you leave it unharvested which could be yummy for a nice little wrap (wow I'm suddenly hungry). When harvesting pull from the outside and don't harvest more than 1/3 at a time!
Swiss chard will be a lot like the kale! They tolerate the cold but still need at least partial sun to grow. You can keep Swiss chard in your garden for a long time if you're enjoying the harvest by cutting leaves from the outside in leaving the growing point in the center untouched. Same with the kale, harvest at the size of your liking and the leaves are tender. Harvest from the outside in, leaving the growing point in the center untouched so it continues to grow!
Thyme tastes best the older it gets. The thyme will grow upwards and grow to be like a bush if you let it! Harvest from the outside in and cut at the base about an 1inch above the soil.
Although you may see tomatoes for transplant on sale year round at your local gardening store, they are a spring and summer variety. They love warmer weather and even California winters are too cold for them! They may grow, but they'll stay small and grow only a few tomatoes, causing you to think it's your fault.
This cherry tomato variety that we are sending do well in the slightly colder weather that may come in early spring, but will need to be planted in an area that gets a good amount of sun. Purchasing or DIYing a trellis is a important step to growing tomatoes. A trellis won't be needed until little tomatoes start to grow and weigh the plant down. If the stem starts to bend, it'll slow (or even stop) the flow of water and other nutrients so as soon as you see some growth in your plant, add the trellis in. The sooner the better!
Since tomatoes are made up of mostly water, it's important to keep your plant watered twice a day if possible in the beginning! We love sending cherry tomatoes because they're a great snack to pick off and eat while you garden.
These varieties are able to withstand and thrive the cold that still comes in the early spring. Like any plant, they need sunshine to survive!
Many winter varieties do well in the early spring but we wanted to switch it up a little bit! This is our first time sending certain varieties so we are excited to see how they work out.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out! We will be setting up 2 separate garden spaces and have the varieties also growing at the trial grounds at the same time as you guys so we will have photos and videos going out on our monthly emails and social media to give you guys an update on what to look out for! We will be doing more updates on our instagram, so I recommend you give us a follow! @leafedbox