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 4, 2020

Early April in the Hudson Valley Vegetable Garden 4/4/2020

Filed under: Lettuce,Peas,Radishes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 5:19 pm
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Daikon radish ‘April Cross’ planted 3/24, emerged 4/4.

I’ve started outdoor planting! March 24 I sowed the seeds of snow peas, spinach, salad radishes and daikon radishes. Today I planted sugar snap peas, daikon radishes and komatsuna. Turnip and beet seed will be sown by 4/15. All these crops can be direct sown and they thrive in the cool weather of spring. For very detailed directions on planting peas see http://www.leereich.com/2020/04/covid-19-or-not-the-garden-marches-on.html . The directions apply to snow and snap peas as well as shelling peas.

After planting the peas, I placed fencing flat on the ground to prevent squirrels from digging for the nuts they buried last autumn. After the peas sprout this piece of fence will be placed upright as the trellis.
Seed Germination boxes aka plastic storage boxes keep seeds moist while sprouting.

My germination box is always full. As soon a pot of seeds sprouts, it is placed under the grow lights and replaced by a newly sown vegetable. The germination boxes currently contain peppers, more peppers, a second planting of kohlrabi and bunching onions. In a week I’ll start the tomatoes and a few tomatillos.

I’ve started hardening off my cool weather transplants so each day they spend a bit more time in the sun and a bit less time under the grow lights.

Seedlings for transplanting 4/15-5/1, starting with the lettuces in the upper center and right.

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