Growing up in the hudson valley I always thought of myself as a “hardiness zone 6” girl, waiting patiently for the risk of hard frost to be done with so I could get my stuff in the ground. Well, imagine my shock and delight when I discovered that Brooklyn isn’t a 6, no, but a 7 on the hardiness scale, putting us right up there with Tennessee. So this St. Patrick’s Day when you bust out the ole green peas for planting don’t limit yourself! If you like growing from seed this is also a good time to start those other cooler weather loving herbs and veggies like kale, chard, and spinach. Remember there’s no need to begin the seedlings indoors. They’re tough and they don’t need to be babied. Simply plop them in your soil outdoors whether it’s in the ground*, in a pot, or in an old shoe, whatever! The best thing about these types of veggies is that you can have two harvests! Plant again in late summer and you’ll have yourself some delicious eatings the whole season through.
*On a side note, use caution when planting directly in the ground. As Brooklynites might recall, the Greenpoint oil spill was one of the largest oil spills ever recorded in the US. Over several decades between 17 million and 30 million gallons of oil and petroleum products have leaked into the soil from crude oil processing facilities. My suggestion beyond getting your soil tested, which you should do anyway for lead etc., is to replace as much as you can with an organic mix of half soil, half soil-less mix. Or just build your own beds and you won’t have to worry about it. More to come on that subject later on.