EECO Farm – MAY 2023 Newsletter for Gardeners

“A swarm of bees in May

Is worth a load of hay;

A swarm of bees in June

Is worth a silver spoon;

A swarm of bees in July

Is not worth a fly."


 Farmer’s rhyme from England  

The bees are back at EECO Farm! It has been since pre-COVID times (remember those days?) when we last had a real apiarist (pronounced quickly: “APEy-air-ist”) set up and maintain a hive colony at EECO and we are pleased to have him and the honeybees back --- and not a moment too soon. Just as the proverbial beekeepers’ saying above warns (from way back in the mid-17th century), the later in the year you set up the hives, the less time the busy worker bees have to collect pollen from flowers that are still in blossom. Please leave them be undisturbed in the back so they can go about their unending daily business of pollinating all our gardens up front.

May 15th is when you should start putting in your spinach, broccoli, arugula, some hardy pepper varieties, potatoes, onions and other cold-tolerant salad greens. However, a number of us feel it’s still just a bit early for tomato transplants but using a cloche or transparent row cover can prevent the little plantings from shivering until Memorial Day, the traditional date on the East End to start this fruit in your garden. And, yes, ALL tomatoes are genetically classified as a fruit, not a vegetable --- but expect an argument from nutritionists! 

For those of you who have been growing various herbs and veggie seedlings indoors either under lights or in a sunny spot, mid-to-later May (the 21st on average) is a good time to start “hardening” them off. Set them outside in the shade for longer periods of time each day for at least a week before transplanting into the ground. You want your outdoor soil temperatures to be about 60 degrees Fahrenheit over night for most greenhouse transplants to take well. Too cool and they’ll just sit there looking miserable until it warms up!  

All cold-frame veggies should be uncovered by May 16th and allowed to be exposed to the air, rain and direct sun.

The third week in May on the East End has traditionally been the time to plant all varieties of peppers --- and lettuce can go in about then too. In fact, after the 21st, it is only a month to the beginning of summer, so therefore no edible plant needs to be held back because of temperatures or available sunlight. It is also perfect timing to drop in your dahlias, iris, gladiolus, Calla lilies, sunflowers, sedum, daisies of any type, etc. as all should do fine. 

No matter when you start planting your EECO garden patch, everything you need to get going is now readily available: plenty of compost, running water, large wheelbarrows and many types of handy tools in the shed.

 Also, right about now is a good time to apply a mild organic fertilizer (say 4-3-3 or even a 3-2-2) to any perennial already in your garden from last year that is at least 5 to 6 inches out of the ground.  

By the way, those numbers on the fertilizer bag are always in the same order by industry standard. The first number is for “nitrogen” (a component of the chlorophyll molecule that promotes optimum shoot and leaf growth), the second number represents “phosphorus” (which, on the other hand, is used for cell division and to generate new plant tissue. It promotes good root growth and is used to encourage fruit and flower production) while the last of the 3 numbers is always for “potassium” (a mild water-soluble mineral that influences a plant’s overall heartiness and vigor). 

Happy Gardening!



         We at EECO Farm love dogs as much as anyone, however many individuals are panicked by your pet. Therefore --- all dogs (yes, we know they’re friendly, cute & adorable) must be restrained on a leash and kept in your own garden and cleaned up after! They are not to wander around where they might fight another dog, chase one of our many rabbits through someone else’s garden or bite someone. Thanks for the extra attention. 

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