While cold-weather seeds such as peas, broccoli, some lettuces as well as onion and garlic can be planted now, hang tight on planting most bulbs. The soil will need to warm up a little more, ideally above 50 degrees. Dahlias, native to South America and Mexico need warmer climates too, but now is a great time to get them started indoors before transplanting them to your gardens!
Also don’t forget to check out our Veggie Care 101 article for some more valuable info!
So your beautiful veggies are all planted or are just about to be. You’re feeling proud of your initial accomplishment, as you should be — but don’t get too comfortable! Your work isn’t done yet! Before you can sit back and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor, I have a quick checklist of continued care for your newly planted vegetable garden.
VEGGIE GARDEN CONTINUED CARE:
- Water regularly. Do not allow Your garden to dry out completely. Keep the bed evenly damp daily.
- Water at the base of the plant, preferably in the morning to keep diseases down.
- If you have not already added Garden Lime to your newly planted tomatoes, it is time. A few tablespoons per plant will do.
- Side dress plants/rows with fertilizer regularly throughout the growing season. If using an organic fertilizer such as Garden-Tone, a few tablespoons per plant, every 2 weeks will keep your veggies happy. If using conventional fertilizer such as VanWilgens Slow Release, 1 time per month should do!
- To keep diseases at bay, spray vulnerable plants, such as squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes with an organic fungicide weekly. Start sprays now with Copper or Garden fungicide.
- Keep a bottle of all-natural insecticide on hand, such as End All. This way, you will be ready to stop bad bugs as soon as they appear.
- Put down a 2 to 3-inch layer of Mainely Mulch straw to keep weeds from taking over. Top it off with a sprinkle of Preen Vegetable Garden and weeds have no chance.
- Just as your beautiful tomatoes, strawberries, etc start to ripen, keep an eye out for furry friends who love them just as much as you do. Store a bottle of Go Away all-natural animal repellent in your shed. It can be sprayed right on the fruit to keep critters away.
A gardener’s work is never done but the end results of your continued care are well worth it. From your garden to your table, you will feel pride with every juicy tomato, crunchy cucumber, and sweet pea you pick.
So you just finished harvesting all of your crops, you have tomatoes in every drawer in your kitchen and your garden is cut back. What now?
With enough time left before the first frost, you can still get another crop in the ground.
Whether you are a planner or a fly by the seat of your pants kind of gardener, succession planting is something to try.
What is Succession Planting?
Succession planting is a way of planting that maximizes your harvest. You plant one vegetable right as another one finishes. There are a few ways to do this:
- Harvest Crop – Using the same plot for another set of vegetables after harvest. When a crop is finished, plant another, with a shorter maturity date, in its place. Leafy greens, followed by potatoes, are a great example of harvesting and replanting.
- Companion Crop – Plant two or more crops with varying maturity dates around each other. After the first crop is harvested, your garden will continue flourishing. Radishes next to cucumbers are great companions. Radishes will be harvested before the cucumbers start to produce too much shade.
- Staggered Crop – Plant the same crop every few weeks in order to not be bombarded by the entire crop at once. Tomatoes and peas are crops you’d want in small batches throughout the whole season.
- Same Crop – Plant the same crop with different maturity dates. Seed packets will display the days to maturity on the packets. Broccoli is an example crop with various maturity dates.
Now you know what succession planting is, here are a few steps to send you in the right direction.
5 Tips for Succession Planting
- Plan Accordingly – Growing based on maturity can be a little tricky if you aren’t planning for your region. Make sure to check the seed packet or plant tag to find out how long the plant will take to mature and what temperature it will grow best in. Make sure you have enough seeds to keep you going through the season.
- Plant Transplants – Speed up the growing process by starting seeds This will allow you to harvest and quickly plant to keep your garden at an optimum level all the way up to those winter months. Or, purchase plants as seedlings from your local garden center.
- Feed Regularly – Add Espoma’s Garden Tone to the soil between plantings to keep the soil rich and crops thriving.
- Don’t Hesitate – As you see plants starting to reduce or cease harvest, don’t hesitate to pull them to make room for a new crop.
- Rotate Crops – Try not to plant the same vegetable in the same spot year after year. This causes the soil to lose essential nutrients and increases the likelihood of diseases developing. Rotate crops every three years.
Succession planting can ensure your garden is in working production all season long. Learn what veggies it’s not too late to plant.
May has finally arrived, and many of us are very eager to get our gardens started. While I would love to tell you to plant away, I need to ask you to be patient.
Did you know that during the month of May the nighttime temperatures are only in the 50’s a third of the time, but waiting until June it jumps to 80 percent of the time?
This is very important when it comes to your vegetable garden and your warm-weather vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers to name a few. So, don’t rush you can plant most tomatoes as late as July 1 st, but don’t worry you won’t have to wait that long.
Warm weather veggies need nighttime temperatures to be at a consistent 50 degrees, and the soil temperature at 60 degrees. A very easy way to tell soil temperature is to take your index finger and stick it all the way into the soil, if you can’t leave it there comfortably for a full minute you will not want to put your vegetables in that soil.
If you plant before the ideal time your plant will not be happy, you are not doing it or yourself any favors the plant will not grow any faster because you planted it early. It will in fact not grow at all until that soil temperature reaches 60 degrees, and it can also cause you to cut your vegetable yield in half.
If you just can’t wait to buy your favorites make sure you protect them from any cold nights we have ahead of us, remember May can be very unpredictable so pay attention to your nighttime temperatures until that last chance of frost is finally behind us.
Darlene Granese, Greenhouse Manager