• Lettuces (Lactuca sativa): Sow these together and thin seedlings by harvesting leaves as needed. There are many varieties to choose from. Try these classics: ‘Buttercrunch’, ‘Bibb’, green or red ‘Oak Leaf’ (which is fairly heat tolerant), ‘Red Sails’, ‘Black-seeded Simpson’ and ‘Four Seasons’; grow the more bitter-leaved endive, radicchio or chicory; try an upright-growing Romaine.
• Basils (Ocimum basilicum): Grow several different basils for flavor and variety, leaving about 12 inches between plants. Try ‘Genoa’; a redleafed one such as ‘Purple Ruffles’ or ‘Dark Opal’; and a spicy basil such as ‘Thai’.
• Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): Set plants about 8 inches apart in the garden. Grow both the curly leaf and Italian flat-leaved varieties; both are useful.
• Spinach (Spinacia oleracea): Set out about 8 or 9 inches apart. Cool-season favorites include ‘Bloomsdale’, ‘Nordic’ and ‘Giant Noble’. For more heat tolerance, try ‘New Zealand’ spinach.
• Arugula (Eruca sativa): This is another tasty coolseason green. Grow these together, thinning by harvesting leaves as needed.
• Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum): Thin to about 6 inches apart. Tangy leaves are good in salads and as garnishes.
• Onions (Allium cepa): Set out 3 to 4 inches apart in a deep, friable soil.
• Red cabbage (Brassica oleracea): Thrives in cooler weather. Space plants about 18 inches apart.
• Carrots (Daucus carota): Scatter these seeds through the bed; you’ll recognize the ferny foliage when they germinate. Thin to about 2 to 4 inches apart.
• Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus): Thin to about 9 inches apart.
• Borage (Borago officinalis): Give this about 18 inches of growing space.
• Pansies (Viola spp.): Set about 12 inches apart.
• Calendula (Calendula officinalis): Thin to about 9 inches apart.
Kathleen Halloran is a freelance writer and editor, living and gardening in beautiful Austin, Texas.
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