It’s Spring and the gardens are ready for planting!
May is the ideal month to plant your young vegetable seedlings, whether grown from seed or store bought. It is also the time for direct-sowing of many vegetables.
Before planting or sowing, try to do as little walking in the planting areas as possible. Garden soils are easily compacted by foot traffic. If you have a sizable garden, consider creating paths through it with planting areas which are 4 to 6-feet wide. These pathways will allow you to plant, weed, and harvest from both sides of the planting area without walking through it. Wood chips or mulch are good to use for these paths. After the plants are installed, a 3 to 4-inch deep layer of straw as a mulch will help reduce weeds and help to conserve moisture. Dried weekly grass clippings are also a good mulch for vegetables and will help improve the soil as it breaks down. Use grass clippings only if they are free of weeds that might leave seeds behind.
Note: If you are direct-sowing seeds, wait to mulch until after the seedlings are 2 or 3-inches tall. Seeds for direct sowing include green beans, all varieties of squash, cucumbers, radishes, leaf lettuces, beets, etc.
If you are like the vast majority of gardeners, you will be planting at least one tomato plant. Tomato plants benefit from being planted deeper than you would normally plant other vegetables. Remove the bottom most one or two leaves from the stem. Plant it as deep as the point where those leaves had been. The plant will send out roots all along the stem giving you a stronger and healthier plant.
Gardening is a great hobby; fresh air, healthy exercise and a great reward in vegetables. Enjoy!