By Scott Scanlon / Refresh Editor
Whether you plant a garden or buy fruits and vegetables this growing season, experts, including those at the Lexington Co-operative Market, say there is a time to plant and a peak harvest time for local fruits and vegetables:
This month – Prepare your garden. Consider what you want to grow and how much space you have. Find the part of your yard that gets the best sunlight and turn the soil with compost. If lacking land, do container gardening. Seeds for tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are among those that can be planted indoors; sugar snap peas, potatoes and legumes including kale and asparagus can go into the ground.
May – Transfer some summer vegetables outside too early this month and you run the risk of a killing frost. Aim for about Memorial Day to be safe with plants you started indoors.
June – You still can plant herbs including basil, cilantro and oregano. Pumpkins and zucchini also are options. The local strawberry harvest starts late this month and stretches into early July. Local items to start to look for on store shelves this month include arugula, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cilantro, garlic, lettuces, mushrooms, peas, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, Swiss chard and zucchini.
July and early August – The harvest picks up. Those interested in growing fruit trees should generally plant two, for cross-pollination, and allow two or three years for a decent yield. Start to look for fresh apples, blueberries, cantaloupe, currants, peaches, nectarines, plums and raspberries, as well as basil, carrots, celery, collard greens, cucumbers, onions, potatoes and tomatoes.
Late August into October – The harvest hits its peak. Look for blackberries, watermelon, bok choy, cauliflower, corn, eggplant, leeks, pumpkins, rapini, rutabaga, shallots and turnips.
Late fall – Let your fruits and veggies go to seed at the end of the season and you won’t have to buy any next year. Plant buckwheat that will help cover your garden during winter and can be plowed under in spring. Plant garlic cloves; each one will turn into a plant ready to harvest next growing season. And collect more recipes to start next season off right.