Sunday, May 07, 2006

May In the Garden.

May is here and the planting has begun!

As badly as I have wanted to plant everything, It has not been warm enough to do so, until now....we have ventured out and put in some tomato and bell peppers.
These of course are in addition to the herbs. With the exception of Basil, herbs are pretty cold hardy and can be started much earlier. In fact they are all well on their way...I have actually already taken some cuttings from the thyme, oregano, and sage.

But, back to the vegetable garden.

If you haven't already done so, this is the time to lay your garden out on paper, get a good feel for what you wish to grow and where to want to grow it.
Nothing compares to having a plan and making it work.

I prefere the standard square for my garden, with a few spaces left in-between the rows for walking. Till the soil a few times and just let it sit between tillings.
This will help the soil to settle and fill in any open spaces left by the tilling.
It will also give the bugs and pest you don't want time to find another home.

So now the tilling and the moving is complete, you need to work in some good organic compost, nothing compares and as far as I'm concerned there is no good substitute.
Again let it sit for a few days and work it in again, breaking up any large clumps that need to be broken. A good garden fork is a must here.

Now your ready to lay your rows out, some folks mound them up, but to me that is just extra work, rain, working the soil, weeding, etc., just tears it down, so I'd skip that part. If you tilled enough and with the good composting, you really shouldn't have that many weeds. I'm not big on weeding!

Companion planting is a really good idea. Some plants make good neighbors for other plants and some don't.....kinda like the human species.

The reason being, they serve as a natural deterent to pest and disease that would otherwise attack the protected plant.

Oregano makes a good companion to plant next to Broccoli and Cabbages.
Garlic close by your Rose beds will keep aphids and Japanese beetles at bay.
Spinach with strawberries is very beneficial to the berries.

Do not plant Asian Cabbage next to regular cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower.
They are susceptible to many of the same pest and disease.

Beets grow well where peas and beans grew the year before, as these plants fix nitrogen in the soil.

You might wish to protect your dill patch from the rabbits and woodchucks, either can consume a full planting overnight.

Parsley worms can eat a full parsley plant or the leaves from your carrots in an hour. BUT before destroying them remember they are the larva of the beautiful Black Swallowtail Butterfly. ( I plant a small patch of parsley just for the them. When I find them on my garden plants, I just pick them off(with gloves)and move them to their own little garden, where they live happily until they fly into my garden.

Plant a garden, watch it grow and be blessed!

Bea Kunz

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