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!

March 19, 2020

Late March in the Vegetable Garden

Filed under: Herbs,Seeds,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 12:22 pm
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3/18/2020 Nobs of emerging rhubarb and rhubarb leaves starting to unfurl.

Accomplished

3/12 Started transplants: a 6-pack each of Cimmaron Romaine and Two Star loose leaf lettuce and a 4 -pack of celeriac. The lettuce sprouted and was moved under grow lights. Celeriac sprouts are much slower.

Plans

Fencing: I am replacing half of the 20 year old fence around my home vegetable garden. The 5′ high wire fence was damaged by deer leaping over during droughts and the 2″x4″ mesh does not block baby bunnies. I’m on a strict schedule, the fence must be finished by the time peas emerge. The old fencing has been removed and new fencing purchased.

Garlic: I planted my garlic last fall and shoots of German White emerged in early March. Chesnok Red has just emerged. It is time to fertilize. I use an 3-4-3 fertilizer formulated for root crops and fertilize each plant individually. Fertilizer is sprinkled on the soil after shifting the mulch.

Planting

Plant peas soon: I always plant snow peas by 4/1 but this year I might try earlier, maybe 3/22. The soil is warming quickly and the crocuses are blooming, the earliest in my 20 years of record keeping. The soil temperature about 6″ deep was 33°-35° on 3/9 but is warming quickly. On 3/18 soil temperature was up around 45°.

3/21 – I’ll sow seeds fort transplants of broccoli, cabbage, Napa cabbage, kohlrabi and additional lettuce.

Perennial herbs are hardening off outside. The rosemary was overwintered in a pot in front of a south facing basement window. The thyme and sage are new. All will be planted outside the new garden fence.

Harvest

Chives and garlic chives are shooting out of the mulch. I started harvesting this week by snipping shoots at the base. Both add flavor to omelettes.

Common chives emerging 3/18/2020. The leaves of common chives are tubes.
Garlic chives are emerging from the mulch. Garlic chives sport flat leaves.
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