Summer Crop Planting Begins!


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We visited the farmer’s market this weekend, not as vendors but consumers. It was the first Saturday of the early season with mainly bedding plants and strawberries – of which we have neither this year. We did have the opportunity to talk to just about every vendor there and took in advice when we could get it. Regular season starts May 19th and we are eager to get started. Some days I find myself concerned that no crops will be ready to go. A growing plant is like a pot of boiling water – the more you watch it, the longer it takes. Agh!  

The tiny transplants that were hardened last week will be going into the garden this week. Early tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and lima beans will all be transplanted today. Normally, cucumbers, squash, and limas are not transplanted but are instead planted directly into the garden but I’ve been working to improve my seed starting technique and thought it would be fun to give them a try. It seems that the limas may have grown too tall and the cucurbits are somewhat too small. I’ll pick through them and transplant the most healthy then fill in the gaps by poking seeds into the soil. I expect the tomato plants will do well. This week the pepper plants and marigolds will get hardened-off. 

I always go to the garden with a list of things to do but the list never seems to get completely done. I just keep moving incomplete chores to the next day, adding new ones as I go. In addition to transplanting, today corn and okra will get planted along with a few perennial wild flowers. Morning glorie seed will get sowed around a trellis that was given to me by my brother (he made it himself). Purple coneflower seed will be broadcast throughout one of the planting beds that will eventually become a permanent perennial flower bed for bee and butterfly attracting. I’ve got to put together a few tomato cages too and cover the compost piles.

The compost piles are not normally kept covered but there has been so much rain lately that I’m concerned all the beneficial micro organisms have either leached out or drowned. Beginning tomorrow, its forecast to rain every day this week! I’d like to turn two piles by May 1st so I thought keeping additional rain off of them would be a good idea. Water can always be added if the piles begin to get too dry. A compost pile should feel like a squeezed out sponge that’s been soaked with warm water. Right now mine feel like the soaking wet clothes you might drag out of a washing machine that’s quit running in mid-cycle. 

Last fall I added 150# of  ‘nearly’ composted cow manure to the bed that the corn will be planted in, worked it deeply into the soil, then covered the entire bed with old hay. Yesterday, I raked the old hay off and found billions of tiny weeds growing everywhere. Weeding and re-shaping this bed will probably take up most of my time today. I guess I can just forward the chores to tomorrow.