What We’re Planting NOW

It’s the end of April and it’s finally warming up a little in Chicago. Now that the nighttime temperatures are steadily above 40F, it’s time to plant some cool-weather crops. These plants can handle temperatures that dip into the 40s, but really prefer 60 degrees or higher like the rest of us!

If you’re one of our “Grewbies” (growing newbies) and you’ve taken one of our online garden planning classes OR done your homework for Grewbie 101 then you’ll recognize the diagram associated with this post. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, visit Gardeners.com and try out their amazing Kitchen Garden Planner!

What We’re Planting Now:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Bok choy
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Arugula
  • Radishes
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Cabbage
  • Parsley
  • Borage
  • Fennel
  • Fava Beans

Leaf lettuce, collards, kohlrabi, dill, celery, chives, leeks, onions, parsnips, oregano, sage, strawberries, thyme, and turnips are all good to plant now, too. Avoid planting squash, zucchini, basil, corn, tomatoes, peppers, chilis, and melons for a few more weeks. These are warm-weather crops and don’t do well when nighttime temperatures dip past the 60s.

Although kale doesn’t appear in the Kitchen Garden Planner, it can be treated much like collard greens, so I chose that for my plan.

For most of our plants, we’re planting seedlings from the PGP Plant Sale. We are also getting a few from local retailers. Carrots, arugula, beets, fava beans, peas and radishes will be directly seeded into our plot.

Some squares on the plan have been left blank. This is to for our tomatoes, peppers and chilis once it is warm enough to plant them, around the third or fourth week of May. We’re expecting to harvest cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, and spinach by late June or early July, and then the really hot weather of summer will hit.  Around that time we will fill in their spots with some plants that are great for the really hot weather, like cucumber, zucchini and beans. Brussels sprouts will take a long time to form sprouts-we may not see those until September.

Borage flowers and fennel fronds are great in salads and cool summer drinks. They also are great for attracting beneficial insects to our little plot. (Since there wasn’t an option for ‘borage’ in the Planner, I chose calendula – but I’ll be following directions for borage).

We’ll be posting weekly about what we’re growing, issues we’re encountering and other real-time garden goodness. Stay tuned and feel free to post questions in the comments area!