We have had a very dry and hot month of May but there is hope on the horizon, rain seems to be forecast over the next few days. Fingers crossed for a day or two of really good ground soaking rain.
While I often do my planting in early June, I am late, late, late with some of my crops this year. If you are in the same boat, not to worry, we can still plant just about anything and everything, and we can still do it from seed, but we gotta do it now!
With the craziness of the busy season at the greenhouse, most seedling 6-packs sat for weeks waiting for me to get them into the ground. The Brussels sprouts bolted in their sad little plastic packs before I got to them, so for the first time in many years, I have planted them from seed straight into the garden.
The onion seedlings were just planted yesterday and look great already today, won't take long till they are rooted in and growing. I need to grow onions under bug netting as I tend to get maggots, ugh! Netting is the only thing that will keep that fly from laying it's eggs on my seedlings.
You can also use this netting over your carrots if you have issues with the carrot rust fly, or over your brassicas to keep them aphid free.
The hardest part about growing from seed when it is this hot and dry, so dry that that water just seems to float on top of the beds, is keeping the seeds moist till germination happens.
Some veggies can take an incredibly long time to germinate and be a bit fussy, like carrots and parsnips. Carrot seeds are not planted very deep, so tend to dry out quite quickly. I use burlap sacks to help keep them moist till I see them sprouting. If the seeds dry out during the germination process, they die and we are left with no carrots.
Plant your seeds, water well, cover with burlap sacks, and water well again. Lift the bag daily to see if germination has occurred, remove when you see carrot tops. Till then, water through the burlap daily.
Any crops that germinate quickly and are planted deeper, like cucumbers, squash, beans, etc.. water daily and they will be just fine.
Veggies, herbs, etc...
Most of you probably have the gardens in by now, for the most part. If not, we still have time to put in pretty much any crops at all from either seed or starter plant. Do not buy over-grown and root bound veggie starts as they often tend not to fare well, you are much better off going from seed instead. I will put a list of what you can plant from seed at the bottom of this post.
Herbs, on the other hand, will root out just fine usually, no matter how root bound. Pull off the bottom bit of roots and loosen up the root ball, plant and water in well.
Heat loving crops, like squash and corn, love this warm soil and will germinate quickly. They also do not transplant well as they dislike their roots being disturbed. Do not be afraid to start crops from seed, as many actually tend to grow much better and faster than starter plants do.
Remove any bolting vegetables to make room for more of the heat loving veggies. Things like radishes, lettuces, spinach, cilantro do not like the heat and will soon start to go to seed.
These cloudy grey skies may have bought us some more time though, so water well, harvest lots, and keep your fingers crossed.
Add lots of flowers and herbs to your kitchen garden to bring in the good bugs that eat the bad bugs and to feed birds and bees. The best companion flowers for your veggie patch are marigolds, calendula, sweet alyssum, nasturtiums, and zinnias, but anything you plant will attract someone good to your garden, so go ahead, add lots of colour!
Berries and fruits...
When your fruiting bushes/trees are putting on flowers and fruits, they need more water, more often. This will give you plenty of big, juicy fruits and berries. My blueberries are pretty loaded this year, the raspberries are starting, and strawberries are ripening like crazy. Water well and often. This applies to all other berries and fruit trees, too.
Garlic scapes are forming, is time to harvest! Yay!
Removing the scapes them will make your bulbs bigger and also makes it easier to braid the hardneck varieties, should you want to do so. Plus, scapes taste great, too.
To remove, snap them off as close to the leaves as you can, or simply pull them out when they are growing straight up. Scapes can be made into a delish pesto or added to any dish that you would generally add chives or garlic to, like potatoes on the bbq, stir-fries, even add to anything you are pickling.
Scape time also means that we are only about 3 weeks from harvest time. Stop watering your garlic 2 to 3 weeks before harvest... in other words, right about now or very soon.
For more garlic information, when to harvest, how to know when to harvest, etc... please see that post HERE!
Nothing to say about tomatoes yet, really, hahaha, just that I love them! Can hardly wait for fresh home grown tomatoes.
For now, just deep water every third day with soaker hoses or drip system, interplant with lots of marigolds to keep them bug free, and basil to help them grow and taste better.
Please do not fear starting from seed, I always start most all of my veggies from seed. This bed has a couple of volunteer sunflowers growing, but everything else was just planted up this week, including the pollinator plants. This bed will soon be green and fantastic, though it does not look like much as of yet ; )
- Lettuce, greens, spinach (unless you face due south like I do and have no shade beds - too hot). Head lettuce will tolerate the heat better than loose leaf.
- Squash of all kinds... butternut, delicata, gourds, pattypans, pumpkins, spaghetti, zucchini...
You can still plant some flowers and herbs from seed, too...