By Jennifer Banks-Doll
Getting the garden in this year has felt like a marathon. And it’s still going!
I tried to grow all my own veggie starts from seed this year, for the first time. All my peppers, tomatoes, brassicas, greens, squash, melons, cucumbers…I even started rhubarb! I also started a bunch of herbs from seed…cilantro, basil, thyme, fenugreek, mint…and grew others from cuttings. And I started some flowers, though not nearly enough. You can never have enough flowers! Marigold, zinnia, calendula, cosmos, sweet william, forget me not, nasturtium, sweet peas, alyssum. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to grow so many things from seed. “Easy” in terms of planting, watering, putting under grow lights, potting up with compost, hardening off on the front porch or the greenhouse. A LOT of work, but not complicated. Where I failed this year was in having a place to put all of these starts when they were ready to go in the ground. My tomato trellis was not up, I did not have room for the squash, and I did not have beds in most of my greenhouse when I needed to have all of those things. I still have tomatoes and melons in pots waiting for bed space. I keep watering them, hoping they can wait just a little longer…
In the meantime, I have been planting seeds directly in the garden. So much easier if you can get away with it!
It is near the end of June but there is still time (until the end of June) to plant lots of seeds, or so says Linda Gilkeson in her latest list which came out on June 15th. This is good news as I have been succession planting a few things, and still have a bit of space I have saved for more rows of seeds.
It might be a little late for squash from scratch. But there is still time to plant zucchini seeds! Look for varieties that will mature in 55 days or less. And there are still some squash starts for sale at local greenhouses if you have space for them.
It is the perfect time to plant beans as they love warm soil. You may also get away with planting another round of peas! I just planted more rows of both yesterday.
There is still time to plant a few more rows of carrots and beets. I actually have not planted any carrots yet as I have a lot of wire worm this year and I’m waiting as long as possible for them to migrate deeper into the soil. The late planting is also supposed to be good for avoiding the first few hatchings of carrot rust fly.
It is definitely too late to plant tomatoes or peppers from seed, but not too late to get starts in the ground. Still lots of those for sale too, often with baby tomatoes or peppers already on them.
Finally you can still plant all different kinds of greens. You will likely have more success if you use bolt resistant varieties of lettuce and plant them in a spot that has, or where you can provide, partial shade. Greens usually grow quickly so check the maturity rates and keep planting them all summer. Some of them, like kale, could last you through winter as well.
Any tiny seeds sown close to the surface of the soil will need to stay moist, so daily watering, and shading with an upside-down plant tray or some kind of netting or lace draped over a frame on sunny days until the plants get established, can be very helpful.
And then what about winter gardening? If you want to grow winter varieties of broccoli (e.g. Red Spear), cauliflower (e.g. Galleon) or cabbage (e.g. January King) now is the time to get those going too!
Though planting has seemed like a never-ending marathon this year, I’m sad this window is almost closed. I’m already making my list for what to plant more of next year, basil and garlic being at the top. I just cannot get enough garlic scape pesto right now, yum!