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Veggie Bites – Head Start with Your Vegetable Garden

If you want to get a head start on some of your more tender vegetables in your garden them, now is the time to do that. Time to start vines like cucumbers, squash and pumpkins and start your zucchini as well. If you want to sow them directly, warm up the area where you are going to put the seeds.

Greetings fellow gardeners, 

Finally, the temperatures are going up and this means the hardening off begins. For now, I am removing most of the plants that have been on my shelf outside for some time in order to get ready for tomatoes! 

My tomatoes have been sheltered from the wind and sun since I planted the seeds. This means that I must take my time getting them into the ground or into the outdoor pots. The first thing I do is to prepare the soil. I have a nice swath of good ground and I have added compost. It is now ready to plant. For the pots, I do the same. I find a very large pot and fill it with soil. Then mix compost into the soil and it is ready to plant. I always err on the side of caution, so I am going to bring five of my tomatoes to the outside shelf on Sunday and wait for five days before hardening off another five.

Heritage tomatoes are finicky and look for any excuse to die it seems. The little seedlings will sit on the shelf, be watered each morning, and covered each night for the next five nights and then not covered if all danger of frost has passed.  To be safe, I like to harden off my tomatoes for at least a week. Next week I will take you through the steps to plant them.

Start Cucumbers, Squash, Pumpkin, Zucchini in your Vegetable Garden

If you want to get a head start on some of your more tender vegetables in your garden, now is the time to do that. Time to start vines like cucumbers, squash and pumpkins and start your zucchini as well. If you want to sow them directly, warm up the area where you are going to put the seeds. I like to cover the area with black plastic. You can pull the plastic off and plant the seeds in the warm earth at the end of May or if you wish you can make slits in the plastic for the seeds. If you want to start your vines and zucchini now, most of these plants have big seeds and it is easier to use small pots when you start them rather than seed-starting cells.  As soon as the seed leaves and then true leaves appear, the pots can go on the outside shelf to harden off.

As you have these choices why not try an experiment? Plant one of your zucchini seeds directly in the ground around May 24 and start another inside now; see what works best for you. For my experiment, I am going to prepare the ground then put a cloche (a clear pop bottle cut to size) down and plant my zucchini seed in there. The cloche should keep the soil warm and the seed protected. I have never done this before but after reading about cloches and greenhouses from recyclable materials, now is the time to try.

  Cloches for cucumber and zucchini

Update on my Layered Bulb Garden

To update my attempt at a layered bulb garden, I am not impressed. The red orach are growing just fine so that is a plus, but the only bulbs that have appeared so far appear to be alliums. The sparkly tinsel that I added seems to have discouraged the squirrels from digging so that is good. Even though I have such a big pot it seems that my area is just too cold to support this way of growing bulbs. I am not tossing it out however, as who knows? Maybe more bulbs will grow, and I shall be pleasantly surprised.

  Layered bulb pot with tinsel

I am looking forward to having my plant stand be less of a combat zone with me defending the helpless seedlings against the too-may cats. Perhaps they will give me a break. 

Enjoy your week. Judith.

Contact Judith through her Website https://www.lapisdragonarts.com/