early gardening

This weekend I did something I never do in May: I planted my garden. The average last frost date for my area is June 6th (no, you didn’t read that wrong, it really is in June)

But this spring has been SO WARM. And what’s the worst that could happen?*

bush beans

So I planted beans! Three varieties of bush beans!

I’m eshewing all modern agriculture for my corn this year. My friend Calley at Fat Toad Farm swears by the three sisters planting method. That’d be corn, with poll beans growing up it, and squashes around the base as ground cover to keep the weeds down. Makes sense, right? And I’m still growing High Mowing’s Ashworth corn, which I’ve read can be grown in clumps instead of rows.

corn and beans

So I planted corn in clumps of 4**, each seed is about 4 inches out from the center marker. Two bean seeds are in the center of the clump. The clumps are in rows with 12 inches between each clump and 24 inches between each row. Please note I made up ALL these measurements based on my experiences with how the corn grew last year and how I expect/hope things to go this year. I’m recording everything here because this is such a different way of doing things, but I don’t know if it’ll work!

red lettuce

My spinach is almost gone to seed already (but it’s been delicious!) My lettuces are doing well, and about to take the place of spinach in my salads. I planted another 2 rows of lettuce, and I hope to plant two rows every other week to keep us in salad all summer long.

snap peas

I expect my peas will be blooming any time now. These are a short-vined variety that are supposed to do well in our short-ish spring seasons. It was 75-90 over this weekend which is essentially too hot for tasty peas already! Hopefully it cools down a bit…

Let’s see, what else did I plant? Carrots and beets! I don’t know if I can grow root veggies in my garden yet (the soil was a pine forest 5 years ago) but this is my first year trying! Cucumbers and basil in the garden. Scarlet runner beans and nasturtiums for edible landscaping.

The broccoli seedlings were transplanted, the bunching onions are ready to be eaten, the chives, oregano, and thyme are coming back nicely, the squashes (buttercup, butternut, delicata, carnival, yellow crookneck, patty pan, and watermelon in case you were curious) and cherry tomato seedlings are all hardening off outside. They’ll go in the ground between the corn seedlings next weekend!

*Answer: all my seedlings could come up and we could be hit by a hard frost in June. I could loose $15 in seeds and be forced to re-plant everything. Would I cry? Maybe. Would the world end? No.

**Actually, clumps of 6, but my seed is 2 years old, so I’m counting on a lower germination rate here.

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6 responses to “early gardening

  1. We’ve been unseasonably warm too. Which of course equated to a monster hail storm and temps dropping 40 degrees in about 2 hours with wind. Pretty sure the basil has bitten it. Although surprisingly, I think my tomatoes are gonna bounce back. Go figger.

  2. just fyi, those would be “pole” beans. As in, they want to climb up something. Not vote on it. . . . I’ll be very interested to see how this goes, I always wanted to try it but Pa wouldn’t let me.

    • I’m excited! I wasn’t sure how this would affect how many plants I have, but I actually got an entire package of corn planted in almost exactly the same amount of space as last year. I figure that should make for good germination and similar yield. The improvement will be from getting beans and squash out of the same area. And it’s a lot more dry bean plants then I can usually manage. I hope the corn doesn’t deplete the soil quite as much since the beans are right there!

  3. Our early plantings got eaten by lambs. And we were just worried about frost… *sigh*

    • Luckily I’m up on a hillside. The frost worry that came week before last hit the valley below me, but not my garden! That’s what convinced me I should put my seeds in early. The days are plenty warm enough for germination and I don’t think the seedlings (who I should see in a few days, right?? I’m getting impatient!) should be safe.

      My cherry tomatoes are still in pots so I can carry them inside on cold nights. No point in stunting the little things any more than necessary!

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