The last frost has officially past! This means it is time to plant those warm weather crops (tomatoes, peppers, basil, peanuts, etc.) outside! I have officially hardened off my plants, so they are ready to be transplanted. To transplant, I make sure the soil the seedlings are in is semi-dry so it doesn’t turn to mud when trying to remove from the containers, but also not so dry it just crumbles.
When I put in my seedlings I amend the soil, as needed. The tomatoes like egg shells in the bottom of the hole for an extra boost of calcium. I save up egg shells while I harden off the tomato transplants, dry them out, crush them and place them in the holes. I will also put a stick to tie the tomatoes to as they grow.
Peppers like the weather consistently above 40 degrees, so I will wait another week or so to put them in the ground.
Peanuts are easier, in that they are just a direct transplant, but the trick comes in keeping the squirrels from digging them up for the nuts on the roots. I use a scarecrow to keep the squirrels at bay; this worked in 2015 so we will see how it goes this year!
Basil, celery, and parsley I would also just direct transplant, nothing special.
Currently, my lettuce is getting to the point of harvest. My heads of romaine lettuce have many leaves, I am just waiting for the mid-rib to appear and the leaves to stand up in their clump for harvest. I am thinking this should be ready in a week or two. The spinach has a few leaves on, I will be able to harvest these leaves slowly. To harvest the spinach, remove the outer leaves to eat, and keep the inner leaves to allow the plant to keep growing and producing.
The peas are starting their climb up the trellis and are about 2-4″ tall.
As the corn is starting to emerge, I will begin to interplant the corn rows with beans to climb up the corn and provide nitrogen, squash to cover the ground and keep weeds down and amaranth apparently just for kicks as it can perform the same duties as the corn.
This week I will also be putting in my cucumber seeds!
I am also enjoying the flowers appearing in the strawberry patch, as June will usher in strawberry season. (I have June berries, not ever bearing strawberries…which means mine with mainly produce in June, verse the whole summer like an ever bearing.) The benefit of a June berry is a lot of production all at once for storing up berries, but when we buy our future farm I will probably invest in both types of berries…things to remember later 🙂
This may all seem like a lot of work, but honestly I spend 2-4 hours in the garden a week. I weed as I plant, I water when I am done (if at all), and I replace compost/woodchips/etc. as needed. I enjoy my time in the garden, but honestly most plant systems take care of themselves, and I feel a garden should perform in the same way. Part of that is developing systems, verses mono crop (one crop type by itself) plots. If I can interplant, the system will protect each other, beneficial insects or animals will keep down pests, and I can provide a little bit of weed control or correction here or there.
What is your biggest garden chore? How can you start to minimize that time?