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Growing cold-weather crops

It's been a cold spring, but there's a lot that can go out in the garden right now.

MAINE, USA — Has this felt like a colder-than-normal spring to you? According to NEWS CENTER Maine Chief Meteorologist Todd Gutner, the average temperature has been near normal, but we still haven't had any spring warmups. The first 70-degree day is usually in mid-April, but as of May 9, that hasn't happened yet.

Despite the chillier days, there is still a lot that can go out in the garden. These vegetables and greens are called cold crops. 

Gardening with Gutner paid a visit to the garden of master gardener Tom Witwicki, president of the Cumberland County Master Gardeners Association, to learn about these cold-tolerant plants.

Witwicki has been gardening since February in his greenhouse, which is a balmy 68 degrees. This is where he starts his seedlings. 

Although he started most of his plants inside, he directly seeded some peas. 

Below is a list of cold crops that Witwicki has grown.

Cold Crops

  • peas                              
  • asparagus
  • broccoli                          
  • beets
  • radishes                         
  • cabbage
  • cilantro                           
  • kale
  • spinach                          
  • kohlrabi
  • lettuces                          
  • leeks
  • arugula                          
  • onions
  • swiss chard                   
  • shallots

If you don't have any of your own seedlings, you can find some at your local garden center.

Witwicki used a high tunnel of plastic-covered arches in a row to protect his seedlings, but he said you do not need one. He showed Todd his lettuces, cilantro, radishes, spinach, and arugula, all of which he is already harvesting. 

According to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, plants like tomato, eggplant, and peppers can not go out until the last frost. For the estimated last day of frost and the recommended dates to plant your garden, click here.




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