Our March weather was so cool I didn’t plant until the 3rd week of march. Frozen zucchini baby plants were reported. My strawberry berries froze! I’ve been getting reports that seeds haven’t germinated. We gardeners do take our chances. So now it’s time to plant them all! Last month’s plants, another round if you planted and yours survived, and now the heat lovers too! Yes!!!!
Jicama Reminder April 1 IS PLANTING DAY! If you miss it, plant ASAP! All about Jicamas!
Do another round of March plants! Poke beans under finishing peas on trellises, plant tomatoes in cages with wilt resistant basil, Nufar! Colonies of corn, New Zealand spinach with the lettuces, fungi resistant cucumbers, like the variety Saladin, on trellises with dill at each end, super summer squash! Grow your squash up through a strong tomato cage, then, as it grows, lay the vine over the tops of other cages if you have room and want to. All that room underneath is perfect for planting additional plants! Magnificent monster artichokes from transplants! Well cared for, they live 9 to 10 years! Winter squash NOW, so it will have a long enough season to harden for harvest.
HEAT LOVERS TIME! Eggplant, limas, melons, okra and peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes! Plant slow growing peppers now, put in faster growing peppers 2 to 3 weeks, even a month, later. Special notes on selecting your tomatoes! Heirlooms are particularly susceptible to the wilts, Fusarium and Verticillium. Instead, get varieties that have VFN or VF on the tag at the nursery. The V is for Verticillium, the F Fusarium wilt, N nematodes. Ace, Early Girl, Champion, Celebrity, and some that are wilt resistant/tolerant. Ask a knowledgeable person if the tom doesn’t have a designation, or check online.
Tips for Super Tasty Summer Lettuces
• Select heat tolerant, tipburn resistant summer varieties, Jericho Romaine, Sierra, Nevada, Black Seeded Simpson. Heading lettuces don’t thrive in summer – they bolt and seed rather than head.
• Some sites online say amend your soil well when you plant, and you won’t need any further amending.
• Bill Henderson, Plot 25, uses chicken manure all year long and has traditionally had the most vibrant lettuce in our garden. He puts a thin layer on top of the soil, digs it in with one of those claw trowels. Waters well.
• If your lettuces start paling, getting a lighter green, they are probably Nitrogen deficient. Blood meal is the fastest remedy. Works well for other plants too.
• Rarely does our coastal garden get really HOT weather, no need to plant your lettuce in the shade. Summer varieties thrive in our full sun. If you are in the foothills, give them some shade.
• A fat supply of water keeps lettuce growing fast, making plump sweet leaves. Low water, they get bitter and a little tough, will bolt earlier. Some gardeners like bitter.
• When lettuces start to bolt, harvest immediately! Sometimes you can catch them before they go bitter.
• Let a couple of your favorites go to seed! They make really pretty stalks!
Don’t forget to feed little ones you are starting from seed once they get their 3rd leaf! Use half strength fish emulsion/kelp mix. Make up a big batch for the babies. When they have enough, give the rest to other in-the-ground plants, like hungry strawberries, or plants looking a little yellow or pale!
Border or accent your area with herbs & marigolds! The herbs are for quick & easy access for fresh herbs for your table or cook pot. Basil, dill with your cucs, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, savory, thyme wherever there is a nook or cranny! Marigolds make bright light all over the place!
Mycorrhiza fungi, the good guys! The fungi need the sugars the roots give. The fungi, in turn, make a wonderful web of filaments, mycelium, that work in harmony with your plant, increasing its uptake of nutrients and water, reducing transplant shock, and helps with disease and pathogen suppression! Mycorrhiza assists Phosphorus uptake. Of the N-P-K on fertilizers, P is Phosphorus that helps roots and flowers grow and develop. Sprinkle it right on the roots when you plant your transplants. Get it bulk at Island Seed & Feed – ask them to measure some out for you, it’s not in the bins. Mycorrhiza & Farmers video
Bad guys. April and May we start seeing squash bugs in cucumber and zucchini blossoms. Cute but dangerous. Not only do they bite your plants and remove its sap, causing wilt and collapse, but as they feed, they inject bacteria that causes yellowing, wilting and sudden death! You thought they needed water and in two to three days they’re gone. I’ve seen it.
Enter floating row covers No can do if you are trellising your cukes. This is one case where trellising doesn’t work. And you don’t have to! Just put down some straw mulch to keep your fruit clean, and don’t expect it to get evenly green all the way around the fruit.
Turn your compost! Or start some! Summer production plants are hungry! Sidedress your plants that are already growing, especially if they are starting to flower or already in production.
Mother’s Day gifts! Were you able to start any plants for her last month? You still have time. Get a pretty little pot, or a big pot! Or a creative container that will delight her Spirit! Plant flowers, chamomile for tea, transplant a Chinese poppy for beauty and seeds, veggie starts, an herb group, her favorite! Mother’s Day is only 4 weeks away now.