FROST-PROOF FOOD

FROST-PROOF FOOD

cold-hardy veggies to plant early
By Megan Cain

Mother’s Day is often the target date for planting vegetable gardens because it’s around the time of the last frost.

But waiting that long means you miss out on the early harvests of spring. The key to spring planting is understanding which vegetables are cold hardy and which won’t survive below 32 degrees. There’s a long list of vegetables that not only survive the late frosts of spring but thrive in the cooler weather and can be planted well before our average last frost in mid-May.

In my East Side Madison garden I start watching the weather during the second week of April. If there’s no snow and no extremely cold nighttime temperatures in the forecast I start planting my early spring crops, and I get a jump on the season. I’m often harvesting food from my garden around the time other gardeners are just starting to plant. This year, maximize the short growing season by selecting a few cold-hardy favorites and get them in the ground this month. You’ll be harvesting food before you know it!

ALL THINGS GARDENING: CLASSES WITH EXPERT MEGAN CAIN

YEAR-ROUND GARDENING
Want to rely on the grocery store less and your vegetable garden more for organic produce year-round? Learn the steps at these workshops. April 7, 6-8 p.m. Willy St. Co-op East, 1221 Williamson St., and April 8, 6-8 p.m. Willy St. Co-Op West, 6825 University Ave., Madison. $25 members, $35, nonmembers. Register at the customer service desk or call the East store at (608) 251-6776, or the West store at (608) 284-7800.

START SMART: PREPARING YOUR GARDEN TO THRIVE
Ready to get better results from your vegetable garden this season? In this class we’ll focus on mastering the basics like timing, spacing and selection so you can skip over the common beginner mistakes and move straight to the advanced ones. April 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m., American Family DreamBank, 1 N. Pinckney St., Madison.

SUPER EASY FOOD PRESERVING
Want to save money by not having to buy expensive out of season vegetables? You’ll come up with a plan to preserve high-quality produce throughout the harvest season with the fewest steps possible using your basement, fridge and freezer. June 16, 6-8 p.m. Willy St. Co-op East, 1221 Williamson St., $25 members/$35 nonmembers. To register: Stop by customer service desk in store or call (608) 251-6776. Aug. 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Olbrich Botanical Garden, 3330 Atwood Ave., Madison. $32 members, $40 nonmembers. Register at.

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