Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Ramblings in The Month of May!

 Newly planted brassicas in the garden, with companion plants.

This is it, the big planting month is finally here! Yay! It seems like it has been such a long wait, but here we are, finally. The month to plant almost everything!

Rest assured, if you have not yet planted a stitch of seeds or starters, you have plenty of time! Most seeds and plants will take off much faster when planted in warm soil than in cold!

Besides, warm weather veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squashes, corn, beans and more.. are usually not planted until the May long week-end at the earliest ... or, until night time temperatures are +10C .. or (here in Nanaimo) when the snow is off of Mount Benson.

Want to push the season along? Take a chance and plant the warm weather veggies a bit early? Here are some tips to help you do so successfully...

  Black landscape fabric warms up the soil
Mini -greenhouses from garbage bags help to keep tomato plants warm.

- Amend your soil, have it happy, healthy and ready to go. Place black plastic, landscape fabric or something comparable onto your garden bed a week or two before you want to plant. The black will soak up the heat and warm up the soil in the beds.

 Pic from

- Raised beds warm up faster than level ones do, so if you do not have traditional raised beds with boards, etc.. holding in the soil, simply make low, flat mounds about 6 to 8 inches high.

 Pic from

- Make mini greenhouse around each pepper, tomato, cuke, etc... with a tomato cage and a garbage bag. Raise the sides at night or when the temps are cool and drop the sides when temps are nice... or leave up for several weeks and them drop them down.

My tomato, happily growing inside the Wall-O-Water!
- Alternately, buy ready made mini greenhouses! These Wall-O-Waters are specially made with pockets of water that soak up the heat during the day and emit it at night to keep the tomato, pepper, or cuke nice and toasty warm. 

So ... What to sow/plant outside this month...

- Potatoes!
- Cool season crops like cauliflower, broccoli, broccolini, Brussels sprouts, etc... from seedling
- Artichokes from starter plants.
- Asparagus roots or seeds.
- Beets!
- Kale and Swiss chard seeds or starters
- Onions, leeks, shallots and scallions, from seedlings or sets
- Lettuce seeds and or starters
- Peas, seeds and/or starters
- Herbs of all kinds, except basil, which is very tender.

What to sow/plant outside mid to end month ...

- Squash of all kinds... pumpkins, zukes, acorns, etc.. from seed. 
- Cucumbers from seed and/or starter (with protection till soil and air is warm!)
- Sunflowers from seeds
- Beans from seed
- Tomatoes from starter plants (with protection till soil and air is warm!)

What to start indoors this month... 
(if you want a head start - or plant them straight in the garden towards the end of the month. )

- Squash all kinds.. pumpkins, zukes, pattipans, etc..
- Cucumbers
- Red Malabar spinach

Flowers to direct- sow this month..

- Zinnias! Yay, is time!
- Sunflowers
- Sweet Alyssum
- Calendula
- Nasturtiums
- Nicotiana
- Nigella
- Cosmos
- Sweet Peas
- Stocks!
You can also do these guys from starter plants, if you prefer! 
There are many more flowers that can be sown this month, so if you have some seed and are in doubt, this is likely the time to seed it ; )

My seed potatoes are all chitted, ready and waiting.
The Russian Blue's have great sprouts already, while the lovely, red Ama Rosa fingerlings, in front, seem to be quite a bit further behind. Both will be popped into the ground this weekend all the same.
For how-to plant, see HERE!

Seed potatoes have a large window of planting opportunity ...  can be planted anywhere from mid-April through till mid-June.

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