Gardeners Grow Together Week 21, May, 2021: Exciting Times!
Welcome to my special gardening page for those of you who like to garden yourselves! Each week, I will make suggestions as to what gardening tasks we need to do every week during the growing season. It will help keep you on track--as well as myself!
To keep things simple, I am using the year's weekly number, Week #1 through #52 (example: the week of January 1 is Week #1), instead of specific dates.
So, come on! Let's get our hands dirty!
Now, finally, is the time to put all the seedlings that we have nurtured for months into the ground!
In the vegetable patch:
In the flower garden:
In the Vegetable Patch:
It's time to thin out your vegetable seedlings that you direct sowed in the garden. Radishes, greens, carrots, etc., need to be thinned to make sure they grow strongly. Wash the thinnings and make a salad out of the tender baby plants - roots, leaves and all! Delicious.
If you have grown brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower) from seed in the house, or purchased the plants from the garden center, now is the time to get them in the ground. Make sure you plant the stem deeply to give the plant the extra support it will need when the large heads develop. And, they will appreciate the cooler May weather to develop a strong root system.
Now is a good time to plant your herbs. Anything, but basil. I would wait until June 1st to plant basil. It hates being chill. All others can go out now. Make sure they get full sun all day. In the case of Mediterranean herbs, like lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage, make sure they have excellent drainage. They don' t like wet feet, love the heat and are very drought tolerant (not to mention smell amazing and taste great, too!).
I know it's hard, but try to wait until June 1st to plant out your tomatoes and peppers, as well. If you just can't help yourself, cover them at night with a large pot to keep the heat of the day in. Cooler temps stresses the plants and makes them more vulnerable to disease and pests. They are definitely heat lovers, too.
In the Flower Garden:
You can safely plant tender annual seeds, now, directly in the garden. Yay!!
Sunflowers are an easy and fun crop for the whole family. They come in so many colors and forms and sizes, have large seeds that are easy for kids to handle, grow amazingly fast, are practically maintenance free (other than watering) and are just a joy to grow. There are varieties that grow anywhere from 24 inches tall to 10 feet with 2 ft wide flowers! Have a family contest to see who can grow the tallest plant with the biggest flower! Wildlife love sunflowers as well. Pollinators love the nectar and birds love the seeds, so be sure to leave some flowers on the stock for them. Oh, and deer love to eat the whole plant, so protect them from those critters. Horses like them too...don't ask me how I know that...!
If you want non stop color, oodles of flowers, and easy to grow flower options, Zinnias are the answer. These beauties are the epitome of summer flower bounty. They come in every color, except blue, with flower sizes from nickle sized to 5” across; plant sizes from 12” to 48” tall; and several different flower forms. They germinate very quickly, usually within three or four days, and can flower anywhere from 25 to 30 days from planting! Then, the more you pick 'um the more they bloom! No wonder these workhorses of the flower garden have been beloved by generations of gardeners.
If you don't want to wait for seeds to grow, now is the time to buy your annual flower plugs from the garden center. Buy them as early as you can for the best selection. They go fast and the inexpensive, small seedlings are only available from now until maybe the second week in June. Buy them now and pot them on into larger pots, if you aren't ready to plant out yet. If I don't get my seeds started early enough inside, I will buy a few trays of plugs in mixed colors to get things off to a good, early start whilst my seeds sprout and grow in the garden. Then I have flowers a two or three weeks earlier than I would otherwise.
To me, now and the next few weeks, are the most exciting times in the garden. After all the hard work of prepping the garden and nurturing seedlings in the house all winter, now we get to actually put something in the ground and maybe, just maybe, watch our garden dreams come true.
Now, lets get busy!
If you have any questions, put them in the comments below!
Valmont Valley Farm
Where Beautiful Magic is Always in Bloom
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