by Liz Sheehan
Rainy, windy and cool happened to be the weather trend here in Western NY at the beginning of this garden season. It's a blessing and a curse that I happen to be a self-professed weather nerd and a crazy gardener. If I only had a direct line to Mother Nature, the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation), or at least The Weather Channel to warm the soil...
We have recently started experiencing warmer weather and not so much rain, but I honor the tenacity of professional growers who battle the weather each and every season as it had certainly slowed my garden preparation. I try to focus on each task, each moment and each day rather than fret about the things I cannot control. I'm certainly not an expert with fretting, but I keep trying! Memorial Day weekend was the first opportunity to clean out the gardens, add 4 yards of wet topsoil and begin rototilling.
There are now 47 pepper plants and 54 tomato plants in the ground! My wife Candy did most of the planting as I prepped the other vegetable garden beds. The pepper plants are 2 feet tall and many tomato plants are close to 3 feet tall. Hopefully this will offset any growing "slow down" due to the cooler nights. Vegetable seeds and plants in the ground include: 4 varieties of squash, cucumbers, carrots, celery, pumpkins, and tons of bush green beans. Onions will be going in as soon as we have an opportunity.
Early season lessons:
- Remember to buy Super Phosphate before planting tomatoes.
- Stock up on a balanced 20-20-20 plant food (N, P, K- Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium) and use as directed.
- Stake tomatoes before adding the tomato cages for extra support in windy areas.
- Water at the base of your plants whenever possible.
- Whenever possible, wear fashionable chicken boots in the muddy garden.
Liz Sheehan has been an active vegetable and flower home gardener for 19 years, utilizing a backyard greenhouse for 7 years. She has worked seasonally at a Rochester, NY area garden center as well as a nursery and is currently a full-time employee at Harris Seeds/GardenTrends. Liz has a Master’s Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies and completed a Gardener’s Certificate Program at the Rochester Civic Garden Center.