Plant one or more of these cool weather vegetables and they will be ready to harvest by early summer. This will enable you to clear the ground ready for planting other crops that need warmer conditions. The list includes beets, lettuce and onions and gives advice on planting and aftercare. These seven cool weather vegetables are described in an article by Lynne Cherot which I found on her Sensible Gardening website.
Get a head start on the growing season by planting cool weather vegetables. There are several vegetable crops that prefer the cooler temperatures of spring over the dog hot days of summer. When you plant these vegetables in spring you will be harvesting by early summer. An added bonus is these vegetables can be directly sown in the ground just as soon as you are able to work the soil.
Beets prefer an enriched sandy loam that is free of all rocks and roots. Sow the seeds directly as soon as you can work your garden soil. If you soak the seeds first it will help with germination. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep, about 1 inch apart in rows about 1 foot apart. Water the seeds well. They will even tolerate part shade. Keep an eye on your seedlings and thin them out when they are about 2 inches tall. A sweet beet will be one that matures quickly. When half grown they appreciate a topdressing of organic fertilizer.
As your beets grow you can pick a few leaves off each plant to enjoy as cooked greens. You can pick your beets either when they they are small, or leave them to grow to full size. Simply pull them from the earth, shake off the dirt and cut off the stems.
There are many types of lettuce but I prefer to grow the leaf varieties or the tender butterhead types. Lettuce does not require full sun to grow so finding a spot to grow it should be easy. You might even want to grow it in a large container. Lettuce should be grown in a rich soil high in nitrogen. Plant your lettuce seeds directly in the garden. Space your seeds 1/2 inch apart. Cover the seeds with a very fine sprinkling of soil. Your first thinning should be about 2 inches apart, with a second thinning when the leaves are a couple of inches high. Do not let your lettuce dry out, it likes constant moisture. You can top dress with blood meal or fish fertilizer throughout the growing process.
If you grow leaf lettuce you can harvest the outer leaves allowing the inner leaves to continue growing. You can also cut the entire head about 1 inch from the soil. Head lettuce should be cut whole at the base.
See more at Sensible Gardening