Although we are not out of the woods yet, in terms of frost danger, we can begin thinking about warm weather crops. And it is a busy time for vegetable gardeners. Already we are beginning to harvest greens, green onions, and asparagus, while getting ready for the main season.
Basil seeds can be started now for transplant in May.
The window for lettuce and other salad greens is closing. Select fast-maturing cultivars like Black Seeded Simpson. Start seeds for Romaine lettuce, which is more heat tolerant, in cell trays for transplant in three weeks. They should mature in June with no problems. One of the best heat-tolerant Romaine types we have grown is Jericho.
Scallions can be started from seed and will be ready to harvest along with lettuce planted now.
The traditional time in East Tennessee for planting beans is Good Friday, April 18. Beans with brown seeds will germinate better in cool soil. Wait another month before planting white-seeded beans.
Tomatoes can be seeded now in small pots and will be ready to transplant by mid-May. Hold off on peppers, especially chili-types, until after the end of this month.
Cucurbits can be started indoors now, using peat pots to prevent root disturbance. If you cannot provide bright light and warmth, you will have better luck with direct seeding during May and June.
You still have time to get in a crop of potatoes. Select a fast-maturing variety, such as Irish Cobbler, if you want to use the space for another crop later in the season.
All herb plants, with the exception of basil, can go into the ground now. Be prepared to protect tender varieties, such as some rosemary cultivars, with a cover, should we experience a late frost. Parsley and cilantro will both tolerate light frost with no problem.