Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Carleen Madigan: I’d Rather Be Direct-Sowing

Just a few reminders . . .
  • Transplant Your Seedlings. If you have hardened-off seedlings that are ready to be planted outside, you might think about doing that right before a few cloudy, rainy days are forecast. The little guys will settle in nicely.
  • Direct-Sow Your Root Vegetables. It’s time to sow your carrots, beets, parsnips, celeriac, potatoes, and root parsley.
  • Start More Seeds Indoors. It’s a good time to be starting squash and cucumbers indoors, too. A lot of people just direct-sow these, but why not get a head start, especially with varieties that take a long time to mature? 
More good gardening tips:
  • Water and Fertilize Garlic and Onions. I had lunch yesterday with Ron and Jen Kujawski, authors of Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook, and got a couple of good tips. Ron says that now until late June is the critical time to be watering and side-dressing (with either fertilizer or compost) onions and garlic. This is when their foliage is really growing, and they’re storing up reserves to make great bulbs. Once the beginning of July rolls around, you’ll want to taper off the water and fertilizer so that the plants put their energy into forming bulbs and tight skins for storage. 
  • Plant Onions in Bunches of Four. If you haven’t planted out your onions yet, here’s a good tip from MOFGA: plant them in bunches of four. A friend of mine in Maine always does this, with great results – less weeding, easier harvest, and no decrease in bulb size. Check it out here
  • Effortless Spinach. A fun anecdote. Last fall, I sowed a little patch of spinach to overwinter and sprout in the spring. Last night, I harvested it into reused bags from the farmers’ market (which I had purchased spinach in, for $5 a bag). I thought to myself, “Geez, I just grew $15 worth of spinach with almost much no effort and maybe 10 cents worth of seed!” That’s pretty awesome. 
These tips apply to gardeners in regions where the last spring frost usually occurs near the end of May.

Happy gardening!

— Carleen

Before becoming an editor at Storey Publishing, Carleen Madigan was managing editor of Horticulture magazine and lived on an organic farm outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she learned the homesteading skills described in The Backyard Homestead. She enjoys gardening, hiking, foraging, baking, spinning wool, and knitting. Carleen lives in western Massachusetts.

No comments: