Gardeners are in a transition period here in zone 6; spring is not quite here, and winter is reluctant to leave. A late heavy snowfall wet yet short lived is always a real possibility. But it will pass almost as quickly as it arrives and soon it will be time to prepare the gardening beds, turning the soil and working in the newly thawed compost.
North Jersey veggie gardeners are blessed by the varieties of vegetables that can be grown here; simply page through any seed catalog and it is difficult to discover a vegetable that jersey soil will not nourish. New Jersey is after all the Garden State for a reason.
Now is the time to consider directly seeding those early crops for which you may have no transplants available. These include leafy greens like kale, lettuce and spinach and root crops like beets, carrots, parsnips and kohlrabi. Cabbage and onions also should be sown as soon as the soil can be turned and dries beyond the status of mud.
Time to get busy indoors as well, starting peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and even cucumbers if you have a sufficiently delicate touch to deal with these tricky transplants.
Another trip to the seed company web sites may be in order as well; place those orders for sweet corn and summer and winter squash before the varieties you love most are sold out.
The time between St. Patrick’s Day and Easter is a surprisingly busy one for the avid gardener. There is considerable anticipation but also a lot of real work to be done as well. Are your peat pots ready? Is your potting soil close to hand?
Then, ladies and gentlemen, start your tomatoes!
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