Early Signs of Spring in a Community Garden

strawberriesWho doesn’t love this time of year?

Everything is fresh and new and there is so much promise everywhere you look.

Even weeding feels good after a long winter away from the garden.

But don’t be tempted to plant tomatoes and peppers just yet in you live in a cold climate. It’s just too soon.  Wait a few more weeks until frost is no longer a danger. But you can plant lettuces, peas, spinach and other cold tolerant plants.

And if you just can’t wait, remember what Thomas Jefferson said: If you don’t lose a few plants each Spring, you planted too late.

He was motivated. Jefferson and his neighbors used to have a contest to see who could get fresh peas to the table first.  The winner held dinner and served, you guessed right, the early spring peas.

What Gets Planted When?

This question was asked of me yesterday when a neighbor wanted to know when to plant her tomatoes, peppers, and basil in the garden.

tomatoesTender plants – like tomatoes, peppers and basil – get planted after all danger of frost is over. Gardeners here generally use Memorial Day weekend as the date though frost has occasionally occurred later. Check the long-range forecast before planting. Tonight is forecast to drop to 34 degrees in Glens Falls. Not quite frost, but not much better.

If you haven’t hardened off transplants by leaving the transplants outside where they get indirect light, then do so this week. Bring them inside if the temperatures dip. After a week of being exposed to more and more light, your transplants will be ready to plant in full sun next weekend.

lettuceIf you can’t wait to get your hands in the soil, there are plants don’t mind a chill. For example, lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes, dill, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli, celery, kale, potatoes, peas and spinach can be planted mid-May.

However, if beans, corn, basil, rosemary, melons, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins or eggplants are on your list….wait until Memorial Day weekend as these are all susceptible to frost. Or follow in Thomas Jefferson’s gardening footsteps. He said that if you didn’t lose a few plants each season you were planting too late.

See you in the garden this week, Natalie