There is nothing like fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when you grow them yourself. After all, New Jersey is known as the Garden State! With summer fast approaching, now is the time to start planning your plants!
Perfect for beginners, strawberries are an easy and low maintenance plant. The variety of strawberries for summer is known as “June-bearers,” which produce an abundance of berries over a period of a few weeks in late spring or early summer. The sweet fruit is perfect for limited spaces, as they do not require much space or a big pot and can even be grown on balconies or terraces.
Strawberries can conform to a variety of containers, like wood or plastic, or even hanging baskets and window boxes. The container of your choosing can be filled with a soil-less potting mix before you add the plants. The strawberry plant should get at least eight hours of sun a day, so choose bright spot. Water is necessary to keep the roots moist!
Tomatoes or a summer staple and can be easily grown in a pot. Oftentimes stores sell tomato plants in a ready for you pot, all you have to do is take it home and tend to it. The best spot for tomato plants is a sunny one that gets at least six hours of sun a day. The tomato plant soil should be moist, but not saturated. Once the heat of the summer is at its highest, daily watering becomes necessary. Cages and stakes can also help direct the growth of the plant, while keeping out insects that eat the tomatoes. They are ripe to pick when they are easily plucked from the branches.
An easy and abundant vegetable which is easy enough for beginners to grow is zucchini. Zucchinis can be grown in the ground or in containers. Zucchinis need warm soil and a lot of moisture. They are perfect for people who wait until the last minute to start planting. Zucchinis are ready to be picked when they reach four inches long; check them daily as they grow one to two inches a day.
There is nothing like the taste of a fresh fig, a delicious yet seemingly underrated fruit. Figs, like strawberries, can be grown in pots. However, unlike the strawberries, it can take one to two years before you will have fruit! If you like to plan ahead, figs are the fruit for you! The greenery of the plants is also gorgeous and unique, even while the fruit is not growing.
The container you plant your fig tree in should have drainage holes for excess water. Lighter pots are best, as heavy ones are difficult to move once it is full with soil, the fig tree and water. Consider a container on wheels, to have the ability to move the plant during winter.
Plant your fig tree in a container with soil and a layer of mulch on the top. Place the plant in a sunny spot in the yard and keep it well watered – during the hot summer it may require daily watering (leaves turn yellow if it is over watered). The trees can be pruned to your liking. As the fall and winter approaches, the tree can be moved into a basement, shed or garage – the tree will go dormant, check it occasionally. The soil will become dry to the touch, two to three inches below the surface, so check before watering.
When warmer weather is in sight, the fig tree can be moved outside to the yard for a few hours daily, to help acclimate back to warmer weather.