Thursday, May 7, 2009
It's Hard To Wait
Okay, so the cold weather vegetables have been planted and are growing nicely - especially with yesterday's gentle rain - and we aren't yet at "the average last frost date", but I can't wait to plant the warm weather vegetables. After all the 10th of May is only a few days away and with the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the weather is warmer and the newspaper doesn't show any cold nights in the immediate future, so why not get a jump? I planted my pole beans two days ago. I thought about planting the tomato seedlings but I have been "stung" before by planting tomatoes early only to have a frost seriously set them back. Anyway they are not actually big enough and haven't been hardened off enough. Not to mention that the spinach that occupies the bed where the tomatoes are supposed to go aren't even close to picking size. I guess I can wait until the 25th or the 30th.
Not that there hasn't been enough to do in the garden recently. Taking care of the seedlings indoor takes a certain amount of time especially because I started about 250 milkweed seedlings for a local nature center's fund raising plant sale. Boy will I be happy to deliver those. They have been ready to go for about three weeks and I have visions of them drying up for lack of space in their little containers.
I had this great garden plan all mapped out. Then we decided that the flower garden that was going to become part of the vegetable garden should remain in flowers. Since I then didn't have the place to transplant the pak choi and Chinese cabbages I just put them in a different bed. But that was where the new asparagus was supposed to go. And the little seedlings in the glass covered frame really didn't grow as quickly as I expected so that space remained tied up. [The seeds started indoors later that thos ein the frame have done much better.] I decided to scatter the cucmbers around the garden instead of putting them all in one place where pests could easily find them. Today I went out to see what I had put where and where I had empty spaces. Then I sat down and rewrote the plan around what I had already done. Somehow everything still fits. Part of the reason is that I cut way back on the number of tomato plants because Janet isn't supposed to eat tomatoes.
Right now the swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, zen (a green), new asparagus, peas, broccoli, garlic (some from October, some planted in April), new raspberries (and the dry little sticks are beginning to send out shoots), fava beans, scallions, potatoes, fennel, kale and leeks are in the garden. Plus a few nasturtiums as companion plants.
We ordered a number of new fruit plants - two cherry trees, two concord grapes, two more rhubarb, a currant, and a cranberry. The directions were to plant them within 8 hours. It took a little longer than that but they were all in the ground within 24 hours.
One thing I have done this year is cover some of the empty garden beds with compost. Then I can just plant seedlings through the compost. Will this keep down the weeds? Or will they grow even better with the compost. Another thing I have done is grow red clover among some of the larger plants - broccoli and kale and around the new raspberry - as a cover crop. I did scatter a little too much seed so they might crowd each other out.
I think this year I succeeded in using a row cover over the pak choi and Chinese cabbage. I started them indoors and then transplanted them and immediately covered them with the row cover material. They seem to be growing beautifully and not being eaten by little black bugs. Maybe I will try the same with the summer squash. I also started those indoors and they should be ready soon after the 15th of the month. Will that keep the squash vine borer off of them - at least until they flower and the cover needs to be removed?
I have been much better at record keeping this year. That also takes time. My planting schedule has been very helpful in keeping me doing what needs to be done. In the past there were always some things that didn't get planted because I didn't have a written schedule of what to plant when.