Vegetable gardens in North Carolina will yield a number of delicious crops if seeds are properly planted. The moderate climate and ample water supply during the summer is conducive to a long growing season. The soils of North Carolina are moist, with slight traces of aluminum and silicon. The soils tend to be deficient in phosphorus, magnesium and calcium, so home gardeners should add a fertilizer containing these nutrients to their soil before planting crops.
Snap beans and lima beans grow well in North Carolina. Both of these types of beans may also be grown in 5-gallon containers. Snap bean varieties to grow are Bush Romano, Bush Blue Lake and Tender Crop. Lima bean varieties to grow are Henderson Bush, Jackson and Wonder Bush. Snap beans should be harvested when they are easy to snap in half. This will be just before the seeds inside the pod begin to develop. Lima beans should be harvested when pods are still green and begin bulging from the seed growth inside.
Jade Cross and Long Island Improved are good varieties of Brussels sprouts to plant in North Carolina. Plant sprouts in late June in western North Carolina and mid July in eastern North Carolina. This vegetable may also be grown in 15-gallon containers. Harvest the sprout when the small heads are about an inch wide. This will normally be 90 to 100 days after planting.
Cauliflower may be planted twice during the season in North Carolina. First plantings can be done in late March in the upper coastal plain, which includes Johnston, Nash, Wilson and Edgecomb counties. Cauliflower should also be planted in late March in the lower Piedmont area, which includes Charlotte and Raleigh. Second plantings may be done in early to mid August in the coastal plain, lower Piedmont and western North Carolina. Plant the second harvest in late August in eastern North Carolina. Early Snowball "A," Snow Crown and Violet Queen are good choices for the Tarheel State, producing heads in 55 to 60 days.
Kale may be planted in March through April and again in August through September. Kale varieties suited to North Carolina include Vates, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch, Blue Knight, Green Curled Scotch and Early Siberian. Any of these varieties will be ready for picking approximately 45 days after planting. When leaves are 8 to 10 inches in length and medium green in color, they should be pulled off and eaten. This will allow new leaves to grow so gardeners may continue to harvest this crop throughout the growing season.
Okra should be planted in May in North Carolina. Plant in early May in eastern North Carolina, mid-May in central North Carolina and late May in western North Carolina. Varieties to choose from include Annie Oakley, Burgundy and Clemson Spineless Lee. These varieties will be ready for harvest in 60 to 70 days. When the pods are 2 to 3 inches in length is the ideal time to pick okra. Do not allow pods to grow much longer than this, as they will become tough and lose much of their flavor.
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