June 1, 1998

Boy, this is the busiest time of year for me as a gardener! It's amazing how 16 hours of daylight can go by so quickly.

Right now it seems like I'm doing double-duty. Not only am I trying to get all my main-season summer crops put in (corn, beans, squash, more potatoes, more lettuce, etc.), but also it's the beginning of planting season for my fall and winter crops. This is enough to keep me hopping, but there's more.

I did a pretty pathetic job of locating my early vegetables this year. Normally I'm incredibly anal about pre-planning my garden, but for some reason this year I just didn't do it. Actually, I do know why - the beds I used for the early crops were chosen because they were the easiest to weed! Peas, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, overwintered onions, leeks, and several other things are scattered about the garden with no rhyme or reason to their placement. The result of this laziness is that now I'm having to really juggle things around if I want to have some order for this year's winter garden. After all, the hoophouse can only work if I use it to cover contiguous beds!

Parts of the garden look pretty pathetic right now, but to some degree it's deceiving. A lot of the "weeds" are actually overwintered crops that have bolted, and now are trying to mature seed. I will admit these should have come out some time ago, but I just didn't get around to it. In late winter I was preoccupied with a potential cross-country move, and my garden just didn't get the care it normally receives. Well, I guess in the end they all do count as weeds, because they do have to come out in the end.

I am doing better this season in terms of getting things sowed on time. To some degree this is a byproduct of the relatively drier spring we've had. Another factor, though, is that I'm really trying to avoid the embarrassment of last year, when I had to explain to a number of people why my broccoli was a month late, and my snap beans were being sown in July!

The corn that we put in around the end of April is actually doing pretty well! The popcorn, which my daughter and I direct seeded, came up despite the cooler weather that followed the sowing. Also I've been happy with how well the sweet corn transplanted. In the past I've used peat pots on those occasions that I've started it as transplants, but this year I've had just as much success using plastic pots. As with most hard-to-transplant vegetables, the key seems to be prompt transplanting before the roots can become pot-bound. I'll tell you, plastic pots are quite a bit easier to manage than their peat counterparts!

My pole beans finally went in today. We have had some decent days in May, but they had an uncanny knack of coinciding with my work days. For some reason, I assumed that I'd have lots of gardening time this year; after all, I'm only working 50% time right now. But NO-O... Anyway, because the weather is so variable right now I covered the bean bed with clear plastic (the last sowing of corn, which went directly into the garden yesterday, is getting the same treatment). It really seems to help warm up the soil, but I have to remember to take it off if there's any chance of sunshine! In past gardens I have unintentionally solarized a few beds using this method.

But at least the next few days are supposed to be dry! I still harbor delusions of getting caught up with the veggies, and actually having time to weed the flower beds. Let's see, 16 beds are done, only 12 more to go...

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This page was last updated November 18, 2013