Which Growing Zone?
Growing a garden in Zone 7a (this is the zone we live in on Long Island) means we have the best of both warm and cool climates. Summer temperatures are warm enough to grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and many other subtropical plants. Winter temperatures can be cool enough to freeze the soil several inches deep for brief periods, but moderate enough that a little insulation will protect plants from damage.
Spring planting of vegetable crops should be guided by the last average frost date. In our zone it could be after April 15, or as late as the first week in May. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, and if you are unsure, ask the local County Cooperative Extension office, listed in the phone book. Seed packet instructions often contain statements such as “Plant seeds indoors six weeks before the last average frost,” or “Sow seeds in the garden two weeks after the last average frost date.”
It also is important to know how many hours of direct sunlight your plants can receive and where the shadows fall in the afternoon. You may have at least 4 different microclimates around your home:
- A hot side facing south
- A shadowed, cool side on the north
- A warm western side with afternoon sun
- An ever-changing eastern side that may be warm or cool depending on trees, fencing, or time of year.
Carefully observe heat and light to know where to create your garden. Watch where your snow melts first. This is the warmest and sunniest microclimate you have. Plants that produce fruits require plenty of sun. Allow at least 6 hours daily for tomatoes, zucchini and cabbage. In general, the bigger the fruit the more sunlight it must have.
On the other hand, many veggies and herbs can do well in only about 4 hours of sun a day, such as carrots, beets, chard, chives, lettuce, basil, mint, parsley, or spinach. For leafy green vegetable, less sunlight is fine.
The Key to Success
The key to a healthy garden lies in the soil. The more you can do to keep your soil healthy, the more productive your garden will be and the higher the quality of your crops. Giordanos carries premium soil and boosters to enhance your output and the excellence of your plants.
Giordano’s wants you to succeed, so we offer plants that will thrive for our customers. Your success is our success, so come in for advice about what will work best for you.
If you are starting or maintaining a home vegetable garden, this website from Cornell University will prove to be extremely helpful: