Our growing season is short here in New England, which means that if you want to fit in a few successive crops, you have to plan carefully. You can try to extend your growing season by using things like tunnels and other frost protection. These lettuces that I planted out on April 1 survived a few bouts of temperatures down in the 20s under a grow tunnel, but I’m not sure they’re doing much better than if I’d put them in about two weeks later, in mid April. Although they weren’t harmed, it might not have been worth the extra effort of fussing with a tunnel.
Other plants, like tomatoes, can suffer setbacks for the rest of the growing season if they’re exposed to cold temperatures.
Cool season crops, planted in spring, include onions, leeks, chives, lettuces, spinach, kale, broccoli, and peas. These plants not only thrive in the cool weather, but in many cases won’t grow well in the heat of summer. Broccoli, for example, can bolt to seed before you harvest any florets if the weather warms before the plant has produced.
Warm season crops include tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, melons, and squash.
Check your plant tags and seed packets for growing information. Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a great resource for growing information. Browse through their online information and request a catalogue. Seed Savers is another good resource. UMassAmherst offers a wide range of fact sheets.
Jon P. (plot 1), one of our new members with professional gardening experience, also highly recommends CreateTV (BELD channel 831, Verizon 474, Comcast 959) for gardening how-to.