The snow covers all of Passaic County, here in New Jersey’s northern regions and yet it is time for the canny home vegetable gardener to place that early seed order. That is because for a number of reasons certain vegetables perform much better, grow larger and healthier when started indoors and then transplanted outside to the garden. Of course, the gardener who transplants young plants enjoys the fruits of his or her labors far earlier than those folks who sow seeds directly.
Three veggies which can be completely lost if started too late are broccoli, cauliflower and kale. Exposed to too much heat before maturity broccoli and kale can bolt, and cauliflower can also bolt or become bitter, brown or yellow. Far better to place well developed plants in the plot, and watch them reach their potential.
In the cases of cabbage and eggplants an early start not only means better growth but also helps the plants to mature before their major insect pests become present in any large numbers. Disrupting the pests’ feeding pattern means bigger cabbages and larger numbers of eggplant for the gardener without the need for pesticides, always an enviable goal.
Onions and collards do quite well in warm weather but starting them indoors simply means a better and heavier crop. In the case of onions, all things being equal, a much greater harvest weight will be obtained. In the case of collards, which will renew themselves all the way into the fall if harvested correctly it simply means a longer growing season and therefore more delicious collards.
Don’t be hesitant! Grab that favorite seed catalog or visit your favorite seed supplier online and get a jump start on your gardening season.
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