Growing your own food adds a sense of wholesomeness to your diet and a sense of self-sufficiency to your life. Choosing vegetable varieties suited to your climate and soil type will aid in producing healthy crops.
The Department of Agriculture recommends cultivating vegetables in New Jersey based on yield, quality, flavor, and disease resistance. The following vegetables are excellent choices for beginner gardeners to plant.
While tomatoes are typically considered beginner plants, they need your attention and care. These plants have specific space and soil demands and require a lot of sunlight.
Tomato plants cannot tolerate frost or conditions below 50°F since they are cold-sensitive. Plants should be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before it is safe to transplant them outdoors.
Generally, you can plant your tomatoes outdoors if there hasn’t been a frost in at least two weeks.
Cucumbers are a warm-season crop that cannot endure freezing temperatures. Low temperatures can cause ineffective pollination as well as misshapen fruit.
Bees are essential for proper cucumber pollination. A large bee population ensures more flower visits, which improves fruit sets and promotes fruit size and shape.
Cucumber harvesting in New Jersey can begin as early as 8 weeks after planting if growth conditions are favorable. The fruit is usually picked when it is 6 to 8 inches in length and 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter.
3. Leaf Lettuce
Leaf lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to grow in raised beds and containers, and it is best grown in the spring and fall because it is a cool-season crop.
Choose a location with at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight to grow good lettuce. The seeds can germinate in as little as 40°F, but the ideal temperature for germination and growth is between 60º and 65°F.
Baby greens can be harvested approximately a month after sowing. However, romaine may take up to 3 months before it is ready to harvest.
4. Green Beans
Green beans, a warm-season crop, can be planted as soon as the risk of frost has passed. The air temperature range for optimal growth is between 65°F and 85°F.
Pole beans may take 55 to 60 days to develop, whereas bush beans generally take 50 to 55 days. Pole beans require support to grow vertically, whereas bush beans spread out in a small area.
Harvest the bean pods when they are four to six inches long, slightly firm, and before the beans break through the skin.
Eggplants are bushy plants with broad leaves on woody stems, and some varieties can reach a height of 4 feet.
Staking eggplants, regardless of size, prevent the fruit from touching the ground, preventing disease, encouraging healthy growth, and increasing output. Eggplant fruits come in various sizes, shapes, and colors.
Growing eggplant from seed started inside takes about 60 to 70 days. Frost and temperatures below 50°F are not healthy for eggplant.
Radishes grow best in temperate climates and can tolerate frigid temperatures. Because the seedlings emerge quickly, they make great row markers.
These small vegetables can be planted around the same time as your peas and require very little space. Long-rooted plants require deep, loose soil. If your garden location is less than perfect, consider growing a round variety or sowing your seeds on a raised bed.
Be sure to provide adequate watering because drought conditions can cause this root vegetable to taste terrible and have a rough texture.
Asparagus is a perennial row plant that can produce for up to 30 years, with a peak production period of 5 to 10 years after planting. Asparagus grows best in light soils that drain well because standing water rapidly rots the roots.
Although it can tolerate shade, full sunlight produces more vigorous plants and prevents diseases.