If you live in the Midwest, Northeast, or basically any other area that has an actual winter, you probably spend much of said winter pining for the return of warmer weather so you can get outside and plant something. And as someone who lives vicariously through seed catalogs starting in January, I feel your pain.
When the first stretch of nice weather hits in spring (or when the summer starts to wind down but we don’t want to let go just yet), many people want to get out and plop something in the ground. But patience this time of year is key – as any northern gardener can confirm, the weather swings wildly, and getting too antsy is a recipe for disaster (at least three times in the past month or so here, we’ve seen a 30+ degree swing in less than 24 hours)… I shudder to think of all the money lost on tomatoes that get planted during a nice April weekend, only to die during a not-nice later-April weekend. (Key takeaway here: pay attention to your average frost dates, and don’t plant tender vegetables outside too early. You may get lucky some years, but don’t tempt fate.)
Fortunately for you, me, and every other impatient gardener, there are many plants that survive, and even prefer, the cooler weather of early spring and fall. Skip the tomatoes (at least until it warms up for good) and try some of these cold hardy vegetables instead.