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Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

If you’re trying to eat local, in-season food, make sure to include these top ten plants for early spring harvest. They will yield the first food in the spring so you can have farm fresh produce as soon as possible.

top 10 plants for early spring harvest

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission from your purchase.*

One of my long term life dreams is to eat only locally grown and produced food, like Barbara Kingsolver did in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle {one of my most favorite books of all times}. At first thought, it sounds kind of doable, right? I mean, I have a big garden, and I have egg and meat chickens. I’ve also found a source for local pastured pork and organic, local, grassfed beef. But the logistics are really a lot more complicated than my pea-brain can handle. And it would take a REALLY REALLY REALLY big garden to produce enough food to feed my family of six. Maybe some day.

For now, I will be content to do what I can, and that means maximizing every growing season, and this post starts with spring! Enjoy my list of the top 10 plants to consider if you want to get the earliest possible harvest out of your garden.

Top 10 Plants for Early Spring Harvest

bowl of strawberries and asparagus in the grass

Early Spring Perennials

I love perennials because I can plant them once, and reap the rewards for years! It’s also a bonus that a few garden perennials produce some of the earliest food in the spring, so make sure to include them in your garden.

Rhubarb – it seems a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with rhubarb, but I love it. It’s also ready for picking sooner than most other fruits and is delicious in crisps, scones, and made into syrup too!

Strawberries – strawberries are the first berries to ripen, usually late May or early June in my area. Nothing beats a fresh strawberry right out of the garden! And since conventionally grown strawberries are some of the most pesticide laden fruits grown, we prefer to grow our own.

asparagus on a sheet pan for roasting

Asparagus – asparagus is ready for a full harvest the third year after it’s planted. It’s one of the earliest crops of spring – so delicious!! We look forward to fresh asparagus every year.

Spring Veggies to Plant before the Last Frost

Spring Onions / Potatoes – can be directly sown from seed six weeks before the last frost if the ground is workable. Onions grow quickly and the greens can be cut pretty soon after they start growing. If you leave the bulb in the ground and just cut the greens, they will even grow new greens for you!

Potatoes are generally ready for harvest a little later, but you can carefully collect new potatoes without disturbing the plant ten weeks after the potatoes were planted. We use the no-dig planting method to grow potatoes. Learn more here.

Spinach / Kohlrabi / Kale – can be directly sown from seed five weeks before the last frost date. It’s especially important to plant spinach early as it needs six cool weeks to reach maturity and bolts quickly in hot weather.

Peas / Radish / Carrots – can be directly sown from seed four weeks before last frost date. Peas also don’t do well in hot weather, so make sure to plant them as quickly as possible. Every year I have volunteer radish crops in my garden because I let some go to seed in the summer. They are some of the first fresh veggies we eat!

Forellensuss Lettuce

Lettuce / Swiss Chard – can be directly sown from seed two weeks before last frost date. I also have volunteer lettuce in my garden from time to time and love it! Fresh lettuce is just delicious.

Check your seed packets to see which varieties mature the quickest. Some radishes are ready within 25 days! And lettuce is very quick growing too.

Did you know I wrote my first book? You will love my new book – part homesteading tutorial and part cookbook. If you want to take the next step toward self-sufficiency, learn how to raise your own chickens for meat! Or if raising chickens for meat isn’t for you, you can also learn how to utilize the entire chicken in your kitchen to save you money and help your family be a little bit greener!

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A collage of pictures including strawberries in a bowl, forelenschuss lettuce, and a basket of eggs and lettuce harvest.

What plants do you look forward to most in spring?

New Year’s Eve Games for Family Fun Ringing in 2020!

If you’re hosting a family-friendly New Year’s Eve party, you’re in the right spot. These fun New Year’s Eve Games for Family Parties keep my kids entertained and occupied. Enjoy this round-up of fun ways to celebrate the New Year with your family!

family friendly new year's eve party activities

Our Family Traditions for NYE

What are some of your favorite ways to ring in a new year? We have a lot of traditions that we look forward to each year. Whether we’re with friends and family or just on our own, here are a few of our family traditions:

  • We love having fun with sparklers around outside
  • The kids don’t always enjoy this, but we love a NYE raclette party – a stinky yet delicious melted cheese from the Alps that is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve all throughout Europe, but especially in Germany.

 

  • In the German tradition, we watch the completely inappropriate British one-act play called Dinner for One. Originally recorded in 1963, the story features two British comedians who re-enact the birthday celebration of Miss Sophie. In this play, she turns 90 and all of her friends have died, but the play is so funny that I cry every time we watch it. I think my kids know it by heart, we have watched it so many times. 

 

  • Of course, we have to watch the ball drop in Time’s Square, too.
  • Toasting with sparkling grape juice is totally necessary. 
  • Big muah kisses are a must. <3



If you’re looking for a few more ideas for fun things to do with your family on New Year’s Eve, I hope you will enjoy this list of options we’ve put together for you!

Don’t Miss These New Year’s Eve Games for Family Parties

New Year's Eve Games for Family Parties

I can't believe that in a few short weeks we will ring in another new decade! My 15 year old said the other day that will will be her third decade already!

Not full decades of course, but it will be the third decade that she has been around for at least a while! I'm not even going to admit how many decades that makes for me... LOL!

If you're looking for a fun way to spend New Year's Eve with your family, we've got you covered!

From crafts, to games, making your own time capsule with printables, NYE recipes and more - this list will help you celebrate the best New Years yet with your kids!

What are some of your favorite friendly New Year’s Eve activities?

family friendly new year's eve activities

Holland in Iowa ~ Pella Tulip Time Festival

It’s almost time for the Pella Tulip Time Festival, coming up May 2-5, 2019.  We went several years ago with our homeschool group and had such a fabulous time. The scenery is fantastic and the events are a lot fun. I’m really looking forward to going back soon! Here’s a post I wrote after our first trip and I am rerunning it to convince you that you NEED to go to Tulip Time Pella this year!

pella iowa information windwill

Who knew Holland is only 2 hours away? I have found memories of Girl Scout trips to the Netherlands I took when I was in grade school. We always drove to Holland from Germany on an enormous tour bus. Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, the Anne Frank House, canals cruises in Amsterdam, and of course a visit to an old time village with a windmill, cheese, Delft pottery, and wooden shoes – these were the activities that filled our days. I was in grade school so I haven’t experienced Netherlands as an adult, but I have a lot of great memories of trips there.

pella tulip festival

Holland in Iowa ~ Pella Tulip Time Festival

We’ve been living in Iowa for 6 years now (NINE YEARS NOW!) and I’ve heard about the Pella Tulip Festival  – but we’ve never been before. I mean, how could it compare the real, live deal? I guess I can be kind of a snot sometimes… If it’s not as good as the real thing, why go? Sometimes I’m sad that I can’t provide my own children the experiences I had when I was little. Exploring Europe as a child is something I really treasure but isn’t exactly feasible right now.

tractors at Pella Tulip Time

But when our home school group organized a trip to Tulip Time in Pella, I jumped at the chance. And this past Thursday, our whole family loaded up and made the two hour trek to Pella to see what all the hub-bub was about. I’m so glad we went! It might not have been the real deal, but it was awesome and we all had a great time.

pella tulip festival

The Vermeer Mill was built in in 2002 by Dutch craftsmen.

The Vermeer Mill is a working flour mill and it was a lot of fun talking to the millers who were as interested to hear about how I grind my flour as I was to learn how they grind theirs!

pella tulip festival

Huge Klompen

The kids had a great time trying on the Klompen – or wooden clogs. We also watched craftsmen making them ~ an amazing sight! And these pictures of my kids three years ago make me smile. I have a fourth child who needs to try on these Klompen now too!

pella tulip festival

Wyatt Earp House

We toured the Wyatt Earp house – boyhood home of none other than Wyatt Earp. And later we met “him” on the street. I had no idea he lived in Iowa and Ben was thrilled to meet him and pose for a picture.

horse drawn carriage Pella Tulip Time

Dutch Volks Parade

But my favorite part of the day was the Dutch Volks Parade. It looked like most of the “Pella-cans” donned traditional Dutch dress and came out for the parade. It was so much fun to see such a very well orchestrated parade with all ages of people dressed in traditional Dutch clothing. I loved watching the kids especially. No expense was spared for this parade, let me tell you! We loved it.

kids pushing old fashioned strollers pella tulip time

I highly recommend Pella Tulip Days. The only sad thing was the lack of tulips. Our non-existent winter coupled with a very early spring meant tulips in March instead of May {2015 tulips are blooming now, in mid April}. I would have loved to see all of the tulips. Oh well ~ it gives us an excuse to go back next year! 🙂

washing the street pella tulip time

Have you been to Pella Tulip Time? What are you waiting for?

Looking for more fun places to visit in Iowa? Here are a few places to consider:

Wild Cat Den

Figge Art Museum

I-80 Trucking Museum

American Gothic House Museum

dutch float

Printable Road Trip Games for Kids & Easy to Make Activities

The key to smooth car travel is lots of road trip games for kids. Enjoy this list of fun ways to keep your kids occupied in the car without resorting to electronics!printable road trip games for kids

Welcome! If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve got a road trip coming up. Driving everywhere is one of the only ways we can afford to travel with six people in our family. The kids and I especially, log a lot of travel miles in my car. I know you will love the selection of road trip activities we’ve put together for you.

Enjoy the list and let me know what you liked most or would most like to see!

Printable Road Trip Games for Kids

Free Printables for Road Trip Activities

One thing I really like to do is print out a lot of fun activities for my kids and then put them on a clipboard. I make one for each kid so they don’t have to fight over one. These are my go-to websites for finding fun, printable games:

Travel Games for Kids – Moritz Fine Designs

Travel Scavenger Hunt for Tweens & Teens – Meander & Coast

Free Printables ~ Road Trips Games – The Organised Housewife

More Road Trip Travel Printables – The Mad House

DIY games and activities for road trips

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt {Printable} – Double the Batch

100 Would you rather questions for kids – The Measured Mom

The License plate Game {Geography} – Makeovers & Motherhood

If you’re a crafty mom, you might really like some of these NEXT ideas – they can help amuse your kiddos and keep the “Are we there yet questions” to a minimum!

DIY Road Trip Activities



If you’ve got a little time to prepare for your upcoming road trip, I really recommend making a few of these road trip activities. They take a little more time to prepare than simply printing out from your computer, but they are cute and educational too! Your kids will really enjoy them.

Creative activities for road trips

 Are We There Yet? – Repeat – The Via Colony

Pull Ball Magnets {aka Magnetic Pom Poms} – Mama Jenn

DIY Convenience for Road Trips

Crayon Roll Tutorial – The Pleated Poppy

Travel Memory Game – Kids Activity Blog

Road Trip Activity Bags – The Nerd’s Wife

DIY games and activities for road trips

Felt Mr/Mrs. Potate Head and Boy/Girl Dress Up Set – The Dagenais Daily

Truck Spotting – National Post

We’re heading out next week for our Spring Break in Florida! The links in this post will help us all have a pleasant 20-hour drive. What’s your best tip for surviving long road trips with your kids? 

If you liked this post on Fun Road Trip Games for kids, you will like these posts too:

Top 11 Secrets for planning a Disney Vacation on a Budget

25 Things to Keep in the Car for Ultimate Summer Fun

5 Easy Tips for a Clean Car even if your Kids are Slobs 

 

Road-trip Activities for Keeping Kids Occupied in the Car