Mary's Veggie Garden

April 21, 2020

4/21/2020 Late April in the mid-Hudson Valley Vegetable Garden

Spring is progressing. Forsythia is starting to leaf out and loose its color. The valley forests show the red or yellow of maple flowers and swelling leaf buds. Fruit trees are in full bloom. Tulips are now open.

This spinach was planted 4 weeks ago.

The last week of April is a busy time in my vegetable garden. I have vegetable seed to direct sow and the brassica transplants are ready for planting outside.

I’ve often been asked if I consider moon phases when I plant. NO! We have good weather forecasts and I study them closely, considering both rain and overnight temperatures in combination with the type of vegetable being planted.

The temperature forecast for the next 2 days is highs in the low fifties with overnight lows below freezing for the next two nights. It is raining today, and more is forecast for Thursday night into Friday.

The brassicas that were ready for transplanting are broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, Napa cabbage and green cabbage. Broccoli and kale are the most cold tolerant of the group and the broccoli was quite large – it was transplanted outside Sunday 4/19. The kale is smaller and can wait.

I like to give the rest of the brassicas a few frost free days to establish roots and fully acclimate to outdoor conditions. I will transplant the kale, cabbages and kohlrabi on Thursday, just before it rains again and when above freezing temperatures are forecast.

Broccoli planted 4/19, collared with a strip of thin cardboard to protect against cutworms, and mulched up to the collar.
Brassica bed. I use a super light weight insect barrier row cover to protect against several pests – flea beetles, cabbage maggots and imported and cross-striped cabbage worms. The broccoli is underneath and will soon be joined by Napa and heading cabbages.

I have several garden jobs to accomplish before the Thursday transplanting.

  • Prepare the areas that will receive transplants or seeds. First I clear any weeds. Next I loosen the soil with a garden fork. I use garden beds and walk only on the paths between the beds so the soil in the beds stays loose and forking is easy. Finally I use a garden rake to break up clods and smooth the surface.
  • Plant seeds of Swiss chard and carrots. They will appreciate the coming rain and won’t mind an overnight freeze.
  • Weed and mulch the late March plantings of peas, spinach, radishes and lettuce.
4/20 Swiss Chard planted. After preparing the soil, I mulched a narrow strip along the fence on the right side. One row of seeds is an inch to the left of the mulch and a second row runs 4″ in from the left edge of the bed.
Snow peas planted 4 weeks ago. They are tall enough to mulch.
Mulched snow peas. The next job is installing the wire fence used as a trellis between the two rows of peas. The trellis must be in place before the pea plants twine together.
Transplanted outside in very early April, this romaine lettuce is now well rooted and growing vigorously. Note the tiny seedlings of ‘Red Giant’ mustard sprouting among the lettuce plants.
Lettuce after mulching with mown leaves. I tried to avoid covering the mustard with mulch.

By doing a little bit every day a lot can be accomplished in a vegetable garden.

I just checked the 10-day weather forecast – 4/29 just might be the last frost this spring!

April 11, 2020

Covid Spring – mid-Hudson Valley Edition 4/11/2020

Filed under: Covid-19,Flowers — marysveggiegarden @ 7:44 pm
Several days ago magnolia flowers opened all over town.

My home in Dutchess County is 80 miles from the Covid-19 epicenter in NYC. The county is a bedroom community for NYC, served by 2 train lines. So all of us are all watching the numbers. As I publish this post, there are 1,744 confirmed cases in Dutchess. This works out to .6% of the local population. Scary!

The drive-through Covid19 test facility in the MidHudson Regional Hospital parking garage. No lines. The car on the left had just arrived. First stop – present the paperwork. Then the car moved all the way to the right. The driver lowered the window, leaned over and was sampled.

It is good to get outside, away from the numbers. Luckily the weather has been cooperating. It’s been somewhat dry since early March so we are getting more than our usual share of dry sunny days. There has been enough rain for the flowers to thrive. And temperatures have ranged from the 30’s to the 60’s Fahrenheit – ideal for working outside. We are almost finished ripping out a forsythia hedge 45’x15′. It takes your attention off of everything else.

Think Spring!

The forsythia has provided sunshine for weeks. Even my scraggly hedge under the Norway maples put on a show.
Hellebore, aka Lenten rose.
Sanguinaria, aka bloodroot, opens its blossoms only on sunny days.
The perfect faces of daffodils leave a smile every time.
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