Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Catching up with summer

The peas are starting to yield. The corn is knee high. Lettuce is in full swing. Half my beans survived the rabbit attack. After today the fence will be up. The hops are climbing the trellis, ready for some fall brewing. All is well with the vegetable garden.

Here’s a simple list of things worth doing on the Independence Day holiday weekend:

1) Thinning: It’s, three to five weeks after planting in Zone 5. Time for thinning to the recommended spacing. This is how to have healthy plants and avoid misshapen carrots.

2) Weeds: Vegetable seedlings have begun to take their form and be easier to identify. That means what’s a plant and what’s a weed is easier to see. You can pull weeds by hand. I prefer a triangular hoe because the points allow you to get closer to the plants without disturbing them but stay ahead and it will be less work.

3) Planting: Put in some more beans so that when the ones you’ve already planted stop yielding, you have a second wave.

4) Volunteers: If you’ve had some “volunteer” tomatoes sprout from last year’s dropped fruit, let one or two grow. Yield won’t be as strong as those from fresh seed, but the fruit may be interesting. For example, I plethora of meaty, juicy, flavorful golf ball sized fruit last year led me to conclude a hybrid cherry tomato plant was regressing to one of it’s parents.

5) Replanting: Anyone who grows from seed knows sometimes, things just don’t take. Replant herbs or anything else that hasn’t sprouted or put something else in that spot.

6) Save some space: There’s nothing wrong with keeping some soil at rest. Who knows what interesting seeds may come in the mail in just a few short days.

7) Build things: Get those cages, poles and stakes in place for your vine crops. Cucumbers, for example, will climb beautifully. Vertical gardening saves space.

8) Water: Not too much, but enough to keep things growing.

9) Mulch: After those weeds are pulled, spoon on some fresh mulch mixed with a bit of manure. It will help everything be that much richer.

10) Green tomatoes: They will be here before you know it. Fry some up.

11)Tiller time: It’s probably away until fall but maybe until spring. Drain the gas out of it and either add some Stabl or run it dry.

12) Shovel time: Bust out the old file and take five minutes to sharpen your favorite tools. A sharp shovel is like a sharp knife, easier to work with, but most people never take this simple step.

About the Author
Joe Genco is a contributing writer and financial advisor. You can contact him at joegenco@gmail.com.

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