Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Spring Gardening

Meteorologically speaking, it is spring but that does not mean that all danger of frost is gone. The garden centers have vegetable plants and seeds available for cooler climate as well as warm spring days and nights ahead.  It is most tempting to buy more than needed but get what you like for planting:  you'll find space.

First on the garden agenda is to till the soil and add your own compost (or store bought) and prepare the beds by raking and removing sticks and other debris.  For sowing seeds, I usually aim for a smooth bed to make it easier for the fragile plants to come up.

After I worked in the compost and removed the debris I add fertilizer.  In the past, I have waited for the vegetable plants to get a good head start before fertilization.

Here is a list of my spring vegetables:

Snap beans, green or yellow, require 6 days to germinate and 50 - 70 days to mature.  There are many varieties of beans but I prefer Contender.  They grow long and slender, delightful for cooking when freshly picked and they freeze well for later use.

Squash and/or zucchini usually germinate after 7 days and are ready for harvest after 60 - 75 days.  These vegetables require much room to grow.  They spread and ramble.  It is best to thin out (or transplant, if possible) to avoid crowding. They also have a tendency to develop blossom rot that is a calcium deficiency.
I have added calcium, bought at a garden center, and followed direction on the package.  I still get the rot but I keep trying.

Tomato plants also come in a wide variety, hybrids and heirloom.  We have narrowed down the choices this year to Celebrity that mature in the same time frame and Better Boy that is supposed to be disease resistant and resistant to aphids and nematodes.  If tomatoes are sown from seeds, the germination is within 8 days and they are ready for harvesting in 60 - 90 days.

Oregon Sweet Peas or any sweet peas of your choice will need 8 days to germinate and 60 - 120 days to maturity.  I prefer the Oregon sweet peas with edible pods.  I love to go out and pick peas and eat them in the garden.  They cook up in a short time and they also freeze well for later use.

Eggplants are a must in my garden.  They usually come in trays of four and when mature gives us plenty for ourselves and to give away.  If sown, they need 10 days to germinate and 120 - 150 days to mature.  If you have a recipe for eggplants, let me know.

Happy Gardening.
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