Friday, May 22, 2015

Five Late May Garden Tasks

As I write this, it's 54 degrees outside.  It's been 54 degrees so many mornings in a row, I'm starting to think my weather app on my phone is broken.

It feels a bit chilly for late May, to me, but I know late May weather is variable around here.  That's why we spend so much time hurrying out into the garden the minute it's sunny and 70; the next day, our gardening will be interrupted by rain, chilly temps, or paying work that demands to take priority.

But, as we move into Memorial Day weekend, I thought I'd share five things I will be doing in the garden to hopefully encourage a huge future harvest of healthy, inexpensive, sustainable food.

  1. Keep nurturing the cucumber and zucchini seedlings.  I got a late start getting my cukes and zukes started this year, but I'm kind of glad.  I think our chilly mornings would have stunted the fragile baby plants, and I'm happy enough to let them sit in their plant incubator under a grow light, happy and warm until I can plant them.
  2. Keep sifting compost.  The winter has given me a bumper crop of finished humus for the garden, and every chance I get I'm running through the sifter and applying it where needed. This "black gold" goes on the main garden, in the potato containers, and in the other containers that hold plants.  The rapidly-growing tomato you see in the photo is planted entirely in finished humus from my compost pile.  It is easily six inches taller than its siblings in the garden, which are in a combo of humus and garden soil.
  3. Make egg tea.  This is the season to make the egg shells do double duty.  When tomatoes get blossom end rot (that horrible black, soft, flat blemish that ruins a tomato), it is generally from too little calcium.  We soak our egg shells in water overnight, then use the "egg tea" to water the tomatoes.  We also crumble up the shell and put it at the base of the plant to get even more calcium into the soil.
  4. Tent the blueberries.  Since the blueberries have set fruit, it's time for me to get out the bird tent and try to keep the critters from pulling at the ripe berries from below and the birds from taking the ripe berries from above.  Last year, I wasn't very successful, so I'll be fortifying my tent this year.
  5. Plant beans.  Green beans can be planted pretty much up until the Fourth of July around here, but giving them a later start than the rest of the garden gets them a bit out of sync with the Japanese beetles, so they incur less beetle damage.  I have one planting of beans in the ground already but hope to put in a few more over the next week so that I have plenty to can for the winter.

What are you doing in your garden this weekend?
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