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May- 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.

We are still running a little behind weather wise but spring is finally here – trees and shrubs are in bloom, spring flowers are up and blooming and yes, we still have occasional frost/freeze warnings but we are getting ready for another great year in the garden.

 

Cherry Blossom

My early cabbage and other cool weather seedlings are outside in the garden and growing well but they are still being covered every night to protect them from cold. The tender tomatoes and peppers are in containers on the deck so that they can be brought indoors each night too. The peas and potatoes of course are up and running in the raised beds too. By this time the peas should be larger and have flowers on, but the cool weather has put these behind a week or two as well as everything else in the garden.

 

Cabbages in the garden

This year for the first time I have asparagus and we had the first light harvest for dinner this week. As this is the first full season for them, the harvest has to be light so that they can establish a good root system, but there really is nothing like fresh asparagus. We also have some rhubarb in its second season and to force them into growing quickly, I put a ‘Wall ‘O Water’ around one. These are meant to protect tender tomato plants from wind and cool nights but they work wonderfully with early season rhubarb too! This image shows how much further along the rhubarb under the ‘Wall O water’ is compared to the one with the terracotta pot.

 

Wall O Water & Rhubarb

For the first time this year, I am making a cutting garden. I found some cheap raised beds and set them up under the kitchen window so that I don’t see them from the window. I plan to put sunflowers, zinnias and lots of hardy annuals in this bed and learn how to arrange them in flower vases. The idea of the cutting garden is that you cut the blooms regularly and with annuals that encourages more blooms to grow. It is also near the vegetable garden and I hope will double as a pollinator garden too. Pollinators are not just important for my vegetables but their numbers are decreasing alarmingly and helping them get pollen and nectar will help to sustain them.
In the perennials the early spring hellebores are out alongside the pretty primroses and the bleeding hearts are happily blooming under the forsythia bushes. All these get a good amount of shade particularly in summer but look lovely in spring sunshine.

 

  

Hellebores

Bleeding hearts

Spring is a frustrating mix of bright sunny and mild days brought abruptly to an end by a few cooler days with frost warnings and some are even getting flurries. I suspect that like last year, I will be cautious about putting out the tomatoes and peppers at the beginning of May albeit that we will be frost free by then. The soil temperature is still cool and summer temperatures have not arrived so it is a better idea to wait an extra week so that the plants can have an easy transition to the ground. Springs like this though are one of the factors in edging me toward growing in containers – they can be dragged indoors when frosts are forecast, and sit outside in lovely sunshine for the rest of the time.

Container Plants

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