Cool Weather & Companion Planting: Give It A Try!

Broccoli seedlings in soil cubes. Make seed starters with a Soil Cube Tool

I can hardly believe it’s time to start preparing for my Spring garden! I’ll be getting my warm weather seedlings started indoors in the next few weeks, and I’ll direct sow most cool weather crops outdoors when the snow has thawed and melted away. My main objective right now is to get a jump start on the season by starting a few cool weather crops and herbs indoors in soil cubes.

This winter has been extra crazy for most of the US, so it’s a little harder for me to know exactly when it’ll be safe to plant and what to expect this year.  Worst case scenario, I’ll plant my cool weather crops in the raised beds, and cover them with old windows to create a cold frame if I fear them freezing.

Bull's Blood Beet at
Find cool-loving heirloom seeds like Bull’s Blood Beet at or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio. All the blue links at left are seeds in stock now.

Many plants cannot tolerate snow, frost, or freezing temperatures, but some plants seem to benefit from a little cold. These are the cool-loving varieties I’ll be getting in the ground first, to be harvested before the scorching hot summer days arrive.

As you can see, cool weather crops are generally leafy greens, brassicas, and root crops.

Some plants compliment each other, and actually benefit from being planted close to one another. These are known as Companion Plants. When planning your Spring garden, consider which varieties would do well grown together.

Carrots Love Tomatoes, Louise Riotte at
The companion planting Bible! Available at or Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio.

Cool Companions
Louise Riotte’s Carrots Love Tomatoes is a great book to use when you want to set up companion plant beds. She does all the matchmaking–you just put the plants in. For cool weather plants, she notes the following popular plants do well paired off, and many are perfect for an easy-growning spring garden.

Beets: onions, kohlrabi, bush beans
Brassicas (cabbages, broccoli): celery, beets, onions and potatoes
Carrots: Leaf lettuce,leeks, chives, onions
Radishes: Chervil, carrots
Lettuce: Green onion, radishes, carrots, and as it grows warmer, cucumbers
Leeks: Celery, onion, carrots
Peas: Carrots, radishes; warmer weather: cucumbers, beans, corn.

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