May 08, 2018
I could tell that the ground temperature was high enough for planting out this year by the way the beans came up. They poked up through the surface, straitened right up, unfurled their solar panel leaves and kept growing, all in one continuous flowing motion. Last year they reluctantly exited the ground and remained hunched over like old people in a rainstorm. They kept looking at the ground waiting for the pill bugs to girdle them and put them out of their misery. The bugs tried their best but when the temperature started to go up the beans began to resist and rise.
The harvest was excellent, attesting to the resilience of plants undergoing adverse circumstances. Gardeners everywhere have experienced the seeds that fall out of our packets germinating as redily as the ones we plant and water. We think we are in control in our gardens but we are mostly observers and discoverers.
May 09, 2018
The cracks forming in your garden are a reminder that the soil prefers to be covered. My finest compost gets placed around the base of my plants in a 4" band. The hills and mounds of the melons and squash get a coarser mulch of year old stall cleanings, placed in an 8" band. They are not broken down enough to be considered compost but they will last for several months to retain moisture. The fine compost will be gone quickly. I use the coarser mulch along the bean rows also, because the beans will be ripening into the hottest part of the summer, and the mulch becomes more beneficial as the season wears on.
It's time to drag out any bags of leaves you gathered in the fall and tuck them in down along your row crops. Straw and hay will get tucked in under the vines of your melons when they start spreading out. The last place to mulch is the pathways. I may not even do mine this year because I'm running out of mulch. I often get straw for this purpose but I'm beginning to think it's kind of a waste.
May 10, 2018
The artichokes are coming on strong just as the asparagus is starting to wane. The spinach is bolting but not the Swiss chard. It's time to get your tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in the ground. I've spent a week acclimating mine and trying to keep them from falling over. 18" tall plants in 4" pots get blown over by the slightest breeze even with rocks in the pots. It's traditional to plant tomatoes deeper than the level of planting mix because all of the below ground stem will grow out roots.
This allows for a larger healthier plant that should provide a higher yield. I also protect my plants from the wind because it has an adverse effect on them. Constant swaying doesn't allow good earth to stem adhesion inhibiting upper root growth. Wind also causes plants to lose water from evaporation. Young transplants don't need this extra stress.