Selecting Your Garden Crop in New Jersey
If your garden is in a good spot with more than six hours of direct sunlight, you will have a easy time selecting vegetables to grow. Choose vegetables which taste good picked fresh such as tomatoes, asparagus, sweet corn, peas and summer squash. These vegetables will taste notably better picked from your kitchen garden when compared to the supermarket variety! Vegetables that do well in northern New Jersey include asparagus, snap beans, cucumbers, eggplants, peas, peppers and of course tomatoes.
The vegetables you choose also depends on the seasonal weather. Cool weather crops include cabbage, spinach, lettuce and peas. These vegetables can be planted early in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked up to six weeks before the last frost date. These plants can also be grown late in the season and will grow into the first frosts of fall and winter. Other plants such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and melons need daily temperatures above a certain level day and night. These plants are severely affected by frost. Another consideration is the time it takes for a vegetable to mature. Radishes can be picked twenty to thirty days after the plant sprouts whereas broccoli matures in 105 days. These differences can be used to an advantage as quick growing early crops such as peas, spinach or radishes can be replaced as the weather gets warmer with tomatoes and eggplants. Also staggered planting of quick growing crops can ensure a constant supply of vegetables throughout the growing season.
The size of your garden will also determine what can be grown
successfully. Sweet corn needs lots of room and it must be planted in
multiple rows for pollination to occur. Crops such as muskmelon,
watermelon, cucumbers and pumpkins almost need an entire garden for
themselves as they spread their long vines. A garden plan should be
carefully thought out; planning for a small garden may be more
difficult than planning for a large one.
A good way to start planing is to use graph paper with each square equal to six inches a side and mark it with the boundaries of your garden. Then mark off sections for each of the crops you want to grow using the recommended plant spacing.
New Jersey Vegetable Guide
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