The Q&A Archives: Garden Planning

Question: I will be moving to Sussex County in late March to a new home with a garden area 135' x 125'. I hope to start asparagus, strawberry beds, and to grow rasberries, blackberries, and blueberries. I need to know what is the last possible date to plant each of the above plants. I will start working the ground and helping to fix it in late March or early April. I have never grown the above mentioned plants but I am loving the idea of a useful garden instead of a very small garden. I think my Zone is 7 for Sussex County.

Answer: Zone 7 has average winter temperatures in the range of 0F to 10F. The average last frost date is about mid-April and the average first frost date is mid-October. Armed with this information, you can decide which veggies you'd like to grow (based on days to maturity), when to start your seeds, when to transplant, and when to protect your tender perennials. Both blueberry and strawberry plants can be planted in spring, as can rooted canes of raspberriesand blackberries. If you can find rooted asparagus crowns, plant them in the spring, as well. Otherwise, prepare the bed well and plant in the fall when the crowns are available. By the end of April the soil should be warm and dry enough to work. Amend the bed with lots of organic matter prior to planting; spread 3-4 inches of aged compost, leaf mold, peat moss or aged manure over the top of the bed and work it in to a depth of 6-8 inches for the strawberries, 10-12 inches for the caneberries.The blueberries require an acid soil so use peat moss as the amending material in the area where you'll be planting them. The lower the pH, the happier your blueberry plants will be. Enjoy your new edible landscape!

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