Late Spring Gardening by Byron Chitwood
This spring has been a wet one, so much so that gardeners were unable to get in some vegetables such as lettuce and spinach. Also late to get planted were the Cole family including broccoli, cabbage and kale. They are still for sale in your favorite nursery or do it yourself stores so if you have not planted them yet, go ahead and give it a try. I planted some of these earlier but for some reason, the broccoli bolted and flowered real early. The cabbage and cauliflower looks alright. Maybe those few hot days mad the broccoli think it was time to set seeds.
My red potatoes are looking fine but the Yukon Gold ones have not even sprouted yet. I hope they didn’t rot in the ground due to the early rains that we received.
Although there is still some time left to plant the following, hurry every chance you get: southern peas such as cream peas, black eyed peas and purple hulls. All these are of the legume family and if nothing else, will put some nitrogen in your soil as well as serve as a cover crop. However, they will probably bear a good crop of peas. Harvest them when the seeds in the pods have swollen to their maxim but have not yet started to dry. They are excellent eating and easy to hull if harvested at just the right time. Also, after you have hulled more than what you want to cook immediately, freeze some in freezer bags for the winter time when very little else is available in your garden. I put about a cup of water per quart of peas in the freezer bag and squeeze all the air out of the bag before sealing. Then dry off the outside of the bag to keep the individual bags from freezing together in the freezer. It is too late to plant English peas. They should have been planted in late February.
Other crops that can still be planted are green beans, Lima beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, egg plants, mustard greens, okra, peppers of all kinds, pumpkins, squash and watermelons. I am running a test on which is the most productive: contender or Italian (flat) green beans. So far, the contenders have germinated almost 100 percent but the Italian ones are struggling to even sprout. Maybe it is because I used seeds that were purchased last fall. However, I did keep them in the refrigerator over the winter and have never had any trouble with green bean seeds that were stored this way. I’ll keep the readers of these articles posted on the results of this test but so far my conclusions are that you can’t go wrong with contenders.
It is a little early yet but fall tomato seeds need to be started between June 1 and June 20. Purchase some seeds of your favorite varieties while they are still available and store them in the refrigerator until then. Fall is my favorite time to garden in this area, but that will be discussed in a later article.