In May, we covered how to plant
6 easy crops
(potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, leeks, and peas) that
can be planted in the months of May and June. These plants will all yield later in the summer, with
proper care. Below, we’ve expanded on each crop to help you care for and properly harvest each one.
Watering: When watering your potatoes, evenly moisten the soil without saturating it. Let it dry out
Hill your potatoes: You’ll need to mound up the soil around your potato plants, in stages. Mound up
around the stem in 2” increments as needed to keep just the top 6 to 12” exposed.
Harvesting: The potatoes may mature at different rates. You’ll want to harvest them all once the tops of
the plants start to die back. In the meantime, you can find mature ones by simply feeling around for
ones of an appreciable size. Uproot them and enjoy.
Watering: When watering onions, make sure your soil is getting even moisture. You’ll find they don’t
need a lot of water to thrive. Reduce the watering a bit for the last 2 weeks prior to harvesting.
Pests: The biggest threat to your onions in Western Washington are onion root maggots. Check your
onion plants regularly for dead leaves, which can be an indicator. Learn more about how to handle
onion root maggots
Harvesting: For bunching onions, they’ll be ready when the plant reaches 1/3” in diameter. Just pull
them gently from the soil.
For bulbing onions, a month before harvesting, you’ll want to start pulling the soil back from the bulb.
Eventually, when its time to harvest, you’ll want 1/3 of the bulb exposed. You’ll know its time to
harvest when the tops of the plants start to die. Pull them up. The final step is to let them cure in the
sun, right on the soil you pulled them from, for 3-5 days.
Soil: With cabbage, you’ll want to keep an eye on the pH of the soil. Maintain at a pH of at least 6.0,
and ideally somewhere in between 6.5 to 7.2. Just add lime as needed to increase the pH of soil. You’ll
want to make sure the soil is of a good loamy consistency, so it drains well.
Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist, but not saturated.
Fertilizer: use one application of organic slow release fertilizer, 1 month after you plant your cabbages.
Pests: the biggest threat to your cabbages is caterpillars. You can treat for them with Bacillus
thuringiensis, by following the supplied instructions.
Harvesting: The heads are ready to harvest when they reach an appreciable size and they feel firm.
Note that smaller heads taste better, so don’t get carried away letting them grow for size. To harvest,
cut the heads off just below the base. If you’re lucky, a few smaller heads might emerge from the
Watering: give your carrots evenly moist soil, without saturating it.
Pests: your biggest threat is the carrot rust fly. A 2-4” layer of mulch will prevent them laying eggs in
Thinning your carrot crop: You’ll need to thin your carrot crop at least twice. When they first sprout,
thin the crop to one carrot per square inch. Once they reach 3” in height, thin the crop again to one
carrot every 3”.
Harvesting: carrots take 60-75 days to mature. You’ll know their ripe when they turn the color you’re
expecting them to (which isn’t necessarily orange, so know which color you’ve got). Don’t let them
grow to thicker than 1-1/2”, or they’ll have a turpentine taste. To harvest, just grab them and pull them
from the soil.
Soil: keep your leeks in soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Supplement the bed with lime to raise the pH as
needed. Also, its especially important to keep up on weeds in your leek beds.
Water: evenly moisten the soil, without saturating it.
Fertilizer: sidedress your leek crop with a balanced fertilizer every 2 months.
Hill your leeks: like potatoes, your leeks need the soil mounded up around the base of the plant. Once
they sprout and start to take shape, keep the mound of soil at the bottom of the leaf fork.
Harvesting: expect your leeks to take 100-120 days to mature. You’ll know they’re ready when the
plant is 1/2” thick. You can let them grow larger, so take only what you’re ready to eat. To harvest, pull
the whole plant from the soil.
Water: Peas get the esteemed status of being the easiest of these easy crops to grow. Watering is the
most complicated part: just don’t let the bed dry out. Keep the soil evenly moist, not saturated.
Pests: aphids are your biggest threat. Click here to learn more about recognizing and eradicating
Harvesting: peas take about 60 days to mature. Sugar snaps will become plump. Harvest them before
they lose their dark green color. Snow peas, meanwhile, will keep their flat shape, and have the white-
green color that gives them their name. Harvest peas by picking the pods right off the plant.