This as been a tumultuous spring, cursed with wind, rain, hail and freezing cold. It seemed like winter just didn’t want to let go. But with summer a few short weeks away – then surely it has to improve, there are seasons for a reason. Winter is cold and summer is hot.
Despite the limited garden time due to the weather, I have finally fully planted out my garden. After planting my tomatoes in the rain on Labour Day, I waited for better weather to plant out the rest. I was racing against my ever growing plants in the hardening off corner getting more and more root bound by the day.
Slowly but surely I began to fill the garden beds with their occupants and then one day I looked about and was surprised to find I was done. There was no more planting to do. While the beds weren’t full to capacity, they were good for now. I had learnt lessons in the past about squishing too many plants into too smaller space and the conclusion I reached was don’t do it. It isn’t fair on the plants to be packed in like sardines and they just don’t like it and thanked me with a reduced yield and a susceptibility to every passing bug and disease.
I have also left room for succession planting. It is always my intention to do this, but I get carried away when planting out and never leave enough room. There is such an assortment available amongst all the vegetable seeds and seedlings that there is no need to just replicate the common veggie varieties. Growing your own adds a fabulous diversity to your meals, and flavours and freshness that can’t be found anywhere else. So you can’t really blame me for not leaving gaps for the future. But this year I restrained myself and will be resowing lettuce, cucumber, carrots and beans in the next few weeks, and maybe some others too.
From now on I will slip into the gentle ebb and flow of late spring and early summer where all that is required is watering, weeding and a bit of fiddling with this and fiddling with that. Each day I’ll check on each plant and get to know it, so should any pest or disease dare decide my garden is a good place to hang out, I’ll spot it straight away and send them on their way before they can wreck too much havoc.
I love this time of year in the vegetable garden. Actually I love all stages, but this one has a special place because the plants begin to fill the beds as they grow and have yet to enter the unruly stage, where tomatoes need tying in to stop them flopping over and the zucchini have powdery mildew. The cucumbers have long since given up attempting to climb up the frame I provided, but are now sprawling over the ground and there is so much that needs harvesting and processing that it feels never ending. For now it is tidy and orderly and I feel, as the gardener, as sense of control and it all looks lovely.
I just want to nurture what I have created and along with regular watering, I am also feeding my growing plants so they are healthy and strong and in peak condition for my next favourite time in the garden, the harvest. The garden centre hasn’t seen the last of me yet. I’ve had my seeds, and a seedling or two, and more compost and fertilizer than I care to remember. Now when I call in I’d like to think I’ll pick up plant food and hope not to need pest control. Although there are gaps in my garden, so I may take a peek at the seedlings – for my succession planting of course!