June- What's in Kate's Garden?


In My Garden (Zone 5-6)

Kate Copsey
Kate has relocated many times giving her experience in gardening from sandy upstate New York to Georgia clay and many areas between. She currently gardens in Central New Jersey. Kate also hosts the popular radio show “America’s Home Grown Veggies” heard every Saturday on America’s Wb Radio.

At the middle of April, everyone was thinking that we were in for a repeat of last year with a long, cool spring. How wrong we were! Nature skipped spring for the most part and zapped right into early summer with mild temperatures and plenty of sun. We have had a few cooler spells but the mild weather allowed me to even chance putting the tomatoes out 2 weeks before the official last frost date – last year I delayed until 2 weeks after the frost date to let the cold soil warm up.
Not knowing that spring was going to be fine, I decided to play with containers. There are so many around now that having some different ones was fun to try. Couple that with all the new varieties that are now available for containers, I decide to see how they all did. The biggest advantage of small and medium containers is the portability. The tomatoes and tender plants were taken out of the nursery pellets and into the containers in early April which is way earlier than they could be put outside. On mild days I put them outside to get hardener off, and on cold nights they came inside again. The result is that here we are at the end of May and my squash is already putting out small zucchini and the tomatoes have flowers on them already! I have a tall set of vertically stacking containers and some that fit right onto the rail of the deck.


My Garden Post

Containers for the deck rails

In the perennial garden the peonies are almost in bloom and the spring flowers are all doing well. The peonies were planted late 2013 so although they were up and growing last year, they didn’t bloom, which is typical for these plants after they are first planted. One amazing little guy has hopped over to the vegetable garden. When I planted the original peony the fence line was different. When we moved the fence we accidentally dug a hole where the peony had been planted. I figured that was one peony less for the garden. So I was very surprised to see the original peony come up close to the fence this year. More surprising is the little one that is about 4 feet way in the raised vegetable bed! I think we must have severed the crown and one bit went with the soil from the post hole into the raised bed area and the main part was relocated with the soil to the area just outside the fence. They say that peonies, once settled, live for years, so I have the dilemma of moving the one inside the fence or just letting it stay and grow.



The Survivor Peonies

In the vegetable garden we have already finished harvesting the asparagus but still have rhubarb producing. These are both in the second full year, so modest harvest are fine but I don’t want to overdo it this year. The Wall O’Water that was on the rhubarb to force it into early growth was repositioned to shelter the peppers. I know that peppers are a little more susceptible to cool weather so the protection helps with that – it also stops the groundhog getting them. The groundhog still visits sometimes and we are lining the fence with chicken wire that he cannot breach but it is taking a while to do the whole area and he sometimes finds a way in.







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Gardening Tip of the Day

  • To maintain maximum the flavor and nutrition of fresh produce, harvest early in the morning when sugar content is highest and store them properly. For asparagus, parsley, basil, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, peas, and green beans, rinse and store in plastic bags in the refrigerator. Keep peppers in the hydrator section of the fridge but don’t place them in a plastic bag. Store winter squash and onions in a dry, cool basement or garage. Eggplants and tomatoes are best stored at room temperature.