Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mid May Garden Update

It is a beautiful sunshiny May day today. An incredible 80 degrees and sunshine that just won't quit. Usually I would wait until the end of May to plant my heat loving vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and squash. But, the forecast is for day temps in the 80's the next 3 days and the extended forecast has night temps in the 50s for the next 7 days. My soil is super warmed up being in raised beds so I'm going for it! I'll be prepared with my frost blanket just in case the weather takes a turn for the worst next week.

Tomato & Friends Bed: See my other post on tomato tips for planting suggestions. In this bed the slow-poke peas are still not producing and it's time to put the tomatoes in so we just worked around them. We'll see how long I leave them in there if they are taking so long to produce any peas. I planted 5 varieties of tomatoes: green zebra, taxi, oregon spring, yellow pear & sungold. (I also have oregon star & garden peach in a containers.) Along with the tomatoes I planted sweet peppers: orange california wonder, banana, carmen & gypsy. I also planted some eggplant: black beauty, japanese long & listada de gandia. Of course there are also 3 varieties of basil tucked in there: lettuce leaf, genovese & siam queen thai. This bed is companion planted with 'state fair' zinnias and 'cinnamon star' sunflowers.

The Squash Mound: My squash mound is a very fun project I was excited to finally plant in today. In October I sheet mulched a 4'x8' space in the "lawn" (I use the term lawn lightly!). I knew I needed another veggie bed this year and I HATE removing sod to construct beds. So, I experimented for the first time with the sheet mulching technique. Basically you compost in place where you would like to plant 6 months later. I started with a layer of cardboard, which smothers the lawn & weeds and eventually decomposes. I then layered levels of organic material that will decompose and make soil that you can directly plant in. I started with un-composted yard debris, then a layer of un-composted food scraps, then a layer from my compost pile that was about half way composted, then a bag of chicken manure, then a bag of Black Forest compost, then a layer of bark mulch to suppress weed growth on the surface, then a bag of cocoa mulch to keep the neighborhood cats off the pile. Then I let it sit for 6 months. And today when I turned the mound it was the most luscious, soft, loamy, gorgeous soil I've ever planted into. The cardboard on the bottom was totally decomposed. It was amazing. I added my custom vegan fertilizer mix and thoroughly worked in a bag of Bumper Crop compost. Once I planted everything I mulched with a bag of Whitney Farms Garden Mulch. I hope my squash will be so happy in this delicious little mound. It was so warm when I planted--they should just love it! Here's what I planted: 1 zucchini, 1 yellow crookneck squash & 1 sunburst patty pan squash. I space them each about 3 feet apart, added worm compost to their planting holes, and watered in with liquid seaweed. I companion planted with 'rocket red' snapdragons, 'touch of red calendula' and I direct seeded 'bright lights' cosmos and 'starburst lemon aura' sunflowers. Once the calendula & snap dragons are in bloom it's going to look amazing. Here are some before and after planting photos

I'll think I'll wait another week on planting my cucumbers. Or who knows, after my blogging break I might make it back out there for some late afternoon planting! Hope you are all enjoying a blessed & joyful spring in your gardens.

In Health & Happiness,
Miss Jolie Ann

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