When to plant your garden in the Garden State
It seems every year more people ask me when it is safe to put in a garden. It depends on a few variables like where exactly in New Jersey you are and what kind of plants you're looking to put in the ground.
If it's seeds, some of them can go in right now.
If it's transplanting new seedlings, from your house or a garden center — we've always had a hard and fast rule in our family.
Don't transplant young plants into the ground until after May 15th. Another popular rule of thumb for a 'safe to plant' date is Mother's Day.
However, there are variables and tricks to getting stuff in the ground earlier.
If you live close to the shore, temperatures there tend to be more moderate and the last frost of the year will be earlier. That gives you a couple of weeks' head start on your vegetable and flower gardens.
One of the tricks I used for getting tomato plants in the ground early was to make mini greenhouses for each plant.
It may sound a little nuts, but if you planted early and there is a frost forecast for the next night, they will save your plants.
Take a clear 2-liter plastic soda container. Cut the top off where it starts to taper to the opening at the top.
Peel any labels off and place them over small young plants if the weather is too cold or windy and if frost is imminent. Remove the bottle on warm sunny days.
This little tool is only to get you through cold days and nights if you planted before mid-May. This site gives pretty good information on when to plant what and in all areas of the state.
NJ Vegetables like lettuce and spinach will do well in cool weather before the May planting season and flowers like pansies will be good as well.
If you're just starting out, get some tips from a local garden center on things like soil and fertilizer along with any equipment you might need. Good luck!
Planting boxes along deck railings are a great look.
Mix and match colors and varieties any way you want.
Petunias, verbena and bacopa grow well together in hanging pots or baskets.
You can buy coco lining and make up your own baskets.
Don't worry if you don't have a lot of ground. Use pots to grow veggies on your patio.
Some varieties of cherry tomatoes do well in hanging baskets.
Plastic owls keep the birds and squirrels away.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.
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