Seed Planting in March? In New Jersey? Not always easy!
The center of the Mayernik Garden is an enclosed area surrounded by a five foot fence to keep the deer out, as well as any other little critters! We have been less successful keeping out the rabbits that have provided us three litters the past two seasons. But let me tell you, they are the cutest things ever! And if we do displace them, it is within a few feet from where mama gave birth so she knows where to find them when she comes to feed them twice a day!
The first growing season (2012) we started off with 11 raised beds inside the fenced area. We will be starting our fifth growing season with 18!!! WHOA! The more boxes does not necessarily mean more production, but more variety. We have also used the extra growing space to experiment with extending the growing season.
Last year was a success with the introduction to a few cold hardy Chinese greens: Baby Bok Choy, Hon Tsai Tai, and Komatsuna. If you have not tried growing these Asian greens, they are perfect for a fall crop. With the mild winter we had, we were picking fresh greens up until Christmas.
This is going to be the first year trying to direct sow in March. Last year would have been impossible because we had 8 inches of snow on the garden until the middle of April. So what can we actually grow in New Jersey in March? Peas and Radishes.
Okay I know what you’re thinking, THAT’S IT, PEAS AND RADISHES?
First let’s explain what our options are with radishes.
Radishes are a very diverse vegetable with many different varieties, each with its own unique taste and color. Last year alone we grew five different variety of radishes: breakfast, watermelon, daikon, cherry belle and Easter egg. The other benefit of growing radishes is they can actually be harvested in 30 – 60 days depending on the variety/weather, which means fresh garden produce as early as April.
For Peas, there are a few varieties that are available that will grow in New Jersey. We have primarily used the Sugar Daddy or Sugar Snap Peas. The peas grow best with a trellis which also increases growing area (think growing up and not outward).
Peas and radishes love the cooler weather. They are best to plant early spring or for a fall crop. For some, radishes might not be your favorite but it might be because the only kind of radish you have had was the red and white ones from the salad bar. So don't be shy, and try a new variety. You never know what will grow amazing which can be added to your everyday diet. We can't wait to start planting here in the Mayernik Garden, and sharing it all with you! Be sure to check back in a few weeks to see how it's all coming together!
*We LOVE seeds from Hudson Valley Seed Library*