Gardening in Massachusetts

Getting started with vegetable gardening in Massachusetts will mean finding the garden plot, amending the soil, testing to see the pH value of the soil, and picking vegetables that will live in USDA zones of 4 through 7. Having the luxury of walking outside to get the freshest organic vegetables for the kitchen will be a major plus and well worth the extra time and effort the tending will take.


Onion

How to store onions
How to store onions

The onion, Allium cepa, is from the lily family and it grows 2 to 4 feet in height. The leaves are hollow and the purple flowers come during the second season. Size, shape, and flavor of the onion are dependent on the cultivar. Plant an onion in rich well drained soil in full sun or partial shade for the best growing results. It’s hardy in the USDA hardiness zones of 3 through 10. Propagation for an onion should be by seed.


Turnip

The turnip, Brassica rapa
The turnip, Brassica rapa

The turnip, Brassica rapa var. rapifera, is from the cabbage family and grows 1 to 2 feet high. The leaves are edible and so are the roots. Colors and flavors vary by cultivar. Plant a turnip in any non-acidic soil in full sun with regular watering for the best conditions for growth. It’s hardy in the USDA hardiness zones of 3 through 10. Propagation for a turnip should be from seed.


Parsnip

The parsnip, Pastinaca sativa
The parsnip, Pastinaca sativa

The parsnip, Pastinaca sativa, is from the carrot family and grows 1 to 2 feet tall. The leaves are segmented and only flowers in the second year of growth. The white root is thick and edible. Plant a parsnip in full sun in moisture retentive soil. It’s hardy in the USDA hardiness zones of 3 through 9. Propagation for a parsnip should be from seed.


Okra

The okra, Abelmoschus esculentus
The okra, Abelmoschus esculentus

The okra, Abelmoschus esculentus, is from the mallow family and grows 3 to 8 feet tall. The leaves are spiny and lobed. The flowers are yellow or cream and very showy. The blooms tend to look like hibiscus flowers. Seeds are in edible pods. Plant an okra in full sun with regular watering. It’s hardy in the USDA hardiness zones of 5 through 11 (zone 4 will have trouble). Propagation for an okra plant should be from seed.


Vegetable gardening can be a fun and peaceful hobby that rewards the gardener in edible delights. Taking a few moments to tend to the garden, to water weed and feed, can give you the freshest organic veggies available.