The summer is finally here and that means that our gardens are perking up and producing! New England fruit and vegetable gardens can be extremely temperamental due to the unpredictable weather but there is some sure fire winners guaranteed to grow deliciously even when the thermometer isn’t feeling the heat. Boston doesn’t always experience the ideal hot and humid temperatures that most produce native to this area requires. There have been many seasons where our average climate doesn’t climb above 75 degrees so we need to make a backup plan that includes plants known to successfully cultivate in cooler zones. There are plenty of substitutions that we can use that will not only thrive but will also appreciate a more temperate growing atmosphere. Try these out and watch your fruits and vegetables go bananas even if the summer scorch seems to miss us this year.
photo credit: www.westwoodgardensnursery.com
Strawberries are a New Englander’s best friend when it comes to finding crops that can maintain productivity throughout any weather condition. Although they do enjoy the heat, this berry variety will grow fruit in temperatures anywhere from 60 to 80 degrees. You might have to wait a little longer for the strawberries to ripen and mature but the taste will still hold the yummy sweetness that is infamously tied to this traditional seasonal treat. Just make sure your garden has room for crawling vines since this root system loves to spread once in the ground and can easily take over the space of other vegetation.
photo credit: yearroundharvest.com
Snap Peas are another great go-to seed when the weather seems uncooperative. They actually prefer the cooler temperatures and enjoy the spring season as apposed to the summer season because of crispness of the air. Not only will they give you early vegetables, but you can re-seed the garden for a second harvest in late August or September. Cooler nights are no problem for this legume although you might want to cover seedlings with newspaper or netting if there is a frost in our midst.
nothing like harvesting your own potatoes
Not only are potatoes awesome to grow visually but also are pretty predictable when it comes to New England harvesting. They enjoy the coolness beneath the soil as the veggies mature and are quite happy to skip the sizzle of the summer by being below ground. You don’t even have to buy seeds since you can use a potato already found in your kitchen! Put an old potato in the ground and make sure its “eyes” have started to sprout. Dig and place the spud 2 inches deep and soon you’ll see a green plant rise. The stem will flower with leaves but be sure to resist the temptation to search for ripe spuds until at least the end of the summer or early autumn. Once the plant dies, dig in and find your buried treasures!