Massachusetts, a geographically diverse state that borders the Atlantic Ocean, provides good growing conditions for many vegetables. Four USDA plant hardiness zones, from 4 through 7, encompass the state, with much of the western half lying in zone 5, and warmer regions located along the ocean. Plenty of vegetable varieties thrive throughout the commonwealth, making gardening there practical and popular.
Sweet corn requires a lot of growing room and is recommended for large Massachusetts gardens. Plant sweet corn 10 inches apart and rows 3 feet apart after mid May throughout the state. Consider planting early, mid and late-season varieties to extend the harvest season, but remember that having three to four rows come into production at the same time will aid pollination and maximize yields. Sweet corn grows best in fertile, loamy, well-drained soil and full sun. Soil amendments like well-rotted manure help sweet corn grow, as does 1 inch of water per week. Harvest corn at its milk stage, when punctured kernels squirt juice.
This warm-season vegetable is hardy enough to grow throughout the state. Plant seeds after the danger of frost has passed in fertile, well-drained soil that has reached about 60 degrees F, usually in May along the coast and June in the west. Pick when fruit is still tender and rinds have not hardened, usually when squash is no longer than 8 inches and 2 inches in diameter. Eat male squash blossoms, which have thinner stems than female blossoms, fresh, stuffed or fried.
Like summer squash, tomatoes should be planted after all danger of frost has passed. Plants are more easily grown as transplants purchased at nurseries. Many tomato varieties exist, and they all mature and grow differently. Some are early-season producers, while others have larger fruit that takes time to develop. These tropical natives grow best in moderate to highly fertile soil that is well drained, and in full sun. Air and soil temperatures must be above 55 degrees F for growth to happen, which means zone 4 gardeners in a small western portion of the state must wait until around late June to plant tomatoes, while the warmest zone gardeners in the east can plant as early as the first week in June.
Plant bean seeds when soil temperature is above 50 degrees F and all danger of frost has passed. In Massachusetts, that means planting in mid-to-late May at the earliest along the coast, and later in the west. Beans, whether they're dry varieties like kidneys and pinto beans, or pole beans like Kentucky Wonders, grow in well-drained soil and full sun. Adequate, regular watering is necessary for optimal growth.