when to start cool weather crops
I am located in Birmingham and have done container gardening for 2 years now. I have always started in April planting my summer crops, and did a few fall crops, as well, but I would like to get a jump start this year for some spring crops (ie. things that will die off in the heat of the summer, but I could harvest in late spring/early summer).
I've been trying to figure out when to start my spring crops. Most say to start after the first frost or just before, but that seems too late to me. In fact, I saw one place that said you could start some crops in January...? And one for February, too. I'm a newbie at gardening, really, so I'm hoping you all could give me an idea of when to start. I will be doing seeds for all of them. I can start indoors if need be, although sowing directly outside in my planters would be great, if possible. Would the ground be less or more frozen in planters? Here is what I'd like to start:
Green Leaf Lettuce (black seeded simpson)
Sugar Snap Peas
Also, I haven't picked varieties for anything except the green leaf lettuce, so if you all know of varieties that do well in our climate I would love to hear suggestions!
Thanks so much!