Northern Nevada gardening and landscaping: Planting cool season vegetables | Carson City Nevada News

It’s cool season vegetable planting time. Most cool season vegetables taste best when grown in cool spring weather. Look for varieties with the shortest ripening times from seed to harvest. Plant vegetables in sunny spots with fertile, well-drained soil to which you’ve added compost and a full fertilizer before planting.

A popular vegetable is kale, which can be used four to five weeks before the last frost. In our region, the average last frost is around May 15th, later for some of the colder locations. Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2-inch deep. Thin seedlings or graft cabbage 12-18 inches apart in the row with rows two feet apart. As soon as the heat of summer sets in, kale becomes bitter and tough. This also happens with fluctuations in soil moisture. Water deeply and keep the soil evenly moist. By mulching around the plants, the soil moisture remains even.

Spinach is another dependable cool season crop. Plant seeds 1/2-inch deep, two to three weeks before the last spring frost. Thin seedlings or transplant spinach three inches apart in the row with rows 12 inches apart. Humidity and cool weather are also key again.

Radishes are planted 1/2 to 1 inch deep. Graduated plantings to extend the harvest time. Thin radishes up to one to three inches apart in rows with rows 12 inches apart. Plant two to three weeks before the last frost in spring.

I like broccoli. Plant seeds 1/4 to 1/2-inch deep, two to three weeks before the last frost. Thin seedlings or graft broccoli 12 to 18 inches apart in a row with rows two to three feet apart. Water and mulch evenly to save moisture. Broccoli will benefit from adding a nitrogen-based fertilizer like 21-0-0 or an organic alternative four weeks after transplanting or thinning. Add more nitrogen when the broccoli heads are a quarter size. Watch out for aphids.

Vegetables are best when they don’t have to compete with weeds, so regular weeds. You may also want to protect your seedlings from predators from birds or squirrels by covering them with plant towels or wire mesh. Keep an eye out for aphids and frequently squeeze or wash them off with a jet of water.

Utah State University has a great website with information on all types of vegetables, including suitable varieties, not just those cool season harvests. More information can be found here.

– JoAnne Skelly is Associate Professor & Extension Educator Emerita at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at

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