With food prices skyrocketing and food safety becoming more of an issue, more and more homeowners are turning to backyard gardens as a source of fresh fruits and vegetables.
This list provides a few ideas for early season plantings in Mid-Atlantic backyard vegetable gardens:
- Onion sets are simple to plant, just dig a furrow as soon as the ground is workable, add a little fertilizer and place onions 3-4 inches apart, oriented up. Cover with soil and water lightly.
- Mixed lettuce can be planted as early as April 1. Work the ground until smooth and then sow seeds an inch or 2 apart. Thin plants often and keep watered. Lettuce bolts quickly when weather warms, so harvest and share lettuce as soon as possible
- Zucchini and straightneck yellow squash are both extremely simple to grow. Plant either type as soon as the danger of frost subsides.
- Stringbeans are another easy to grow crop that matures quickly. Plant stringbeans a few inches apart, sowing several crops during the season. Stringbeans are a good mid to late season choice that can follow early season vegetables.
- Roma tomatoes are among the simplest and most prolific vegetables for Mid Atlantic small gardens. Just a few plants are needed. These are remarkably easy to grow in beds by covering the ground with poly mulch or any of the many synthetic mulching materials. For all natural and organic gardening fanatics, mulching with wheat straw will ensure bountiful harvests, even during dry spells.
- Herbs are an important addition to Mid Atlantic gardens. When space allows, sow a few annual herbs such as dill, basil, cilantro, and parsley. Perennial herbs are usually available as plants, with sage, oregano and chives being essentials.
Spring is a good time to start a compost pile. These simple garden additions allow hobbyists to dispose of excess debris while enriching the soil at the same time.