The good news is there are many annual vegetables that can be planted now.
Plants like peas, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes prefer cool, spring weather and often will stop producing quality produce when summer’s heat sets in. When the weather is mild, they can be grown through the winter, too.
Now is a great time to also plant beets, chives, leeks, potatoes, rhubarb, turnips, onions and parsley.
Some cool-season crops (including those noted above) can be planted in late summer or in fall and grown through the winter, if the gardener is not intimidated by the prospect of gardening in the cold and muddy conditions of the season.
When April rolls around, it will be time to start planting summertime favorites. Tomatoes, beans, corn, summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe, muskmelons, watermelons, cucumbers, eggplant and sweet potatoes all appreciate warm soil and sunny days.
Most crops can be started indoors before their planting dates. Reading the backs of seed packets will often provide you with all the information you need. Germination times and growth rates will help you start your seeds at the right time.
When starting seeds at home, use a quality soil mix and keep the soil moist but not wet. Once sprouts appear, your seedlings will need light and could benefit from sitting outside on sunny days — but be sure to take them under cover on cold nights.
When it comes time to transplant, make sure that the roots have every opportunity to grow in any direction they wish and that you follow spacing guidelines.
• University of California-certified master gardeners are available to answer gardening questions from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 953-6112 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions for Heather Hamilton can be sent to email@example.com.