The Creative Gardener – Very Hardy Vegetables

Hello gardeners! Since this is my first gardening column, let me take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Josh Martie. I have been a resident of O’Fallon, IL since I was four years old. I graduated from OTHS in 2004 and have been in the landscaping and garden center business for the past 16 years. My goal of these columns are to help the everyday gardener turn their brown thumbs into green thumbs. So let’s dig in.

My first subject I want to discuss with you are Very Hardy Vegetables. The old saying “patience is a virtue” applies to every gardener. Once a gardener gets that first taste of warm weather they get that itch to begin planting. One of the ways to determine the best time of year to begin your vegetable garden for the season is to understand their hardiness and their ability to withstand frost and cold temperatures.

The first seeds/transplantations of spring that can be planted are called very hardy vegetables. Most of the common vegetable gardeners grow this early are: Potatoes tubers and Onion sets, Asparagus, Broccoli, and cabbage can be planted as transplants from your local garden center or indoor garden, Collards, spinach, peas, lettuce and turnips can be planted from seed.

When preparing your garden for planting, make sure to till and aerate your garden. Most seeds or transplantations do not thrive in compacted soil. This will allow water and nutrients to quickly reach the seeds and/or root systems. Make sure to till in a good quality compost and fertilizer. I personally lean toward organic or natural fertilizers.

Most gardeners prefer an organized garden. This requires planting all seeds/transplants in straight uniform rows with even spacing. I typically recommend a string line and stakes to make this task easier. If you are starting your garden with seeds, make sure to use a label to mark the rows. If your memory is like mine, labeling your rows is a very important task.

Plant your seeds/transplantations at a depth and spacing based on the recommendation on the back of your seed packet or information label within your transplant. Make sure to lightly water and keep your garden moist until germination. Also make sure to keep your garden weed free as weeds will compete for the water and nutrients you are providing to your vegetables.

As always, if you have the appropriate supplies, you can start your indoor garden of tender plants in preparation to transplant outside at a later date.

If there is a subject that you would like me to discuss, please email me at

Happy Gardening!