Will it Ever Be Spring?
You have already read through every seed catalog since February. You have decided what vegetables you want to plant in the garden. The paper layout is nice and neat and you even went as far as using garden planning software. You couldn’t be more ready, but as you look out the window, it is snowing. Will spring ever get here?
In many parts of the country, you watch the weather forecast religiously, trying to pick that perfect weekend when it is safe to plant the garden. You have looked over all of the weather history for your area, the last average frost date, when is the latest it might snow.
In this part of the country, Mothers Day is a good rule of thumb as the earliest date to plant the garden. Wait a minute, it snowed the past two Mothers Days, wait some more. Certainly no later than Memorial Day weekend, and then hope you have enough of a hot summer to have a plentiful garden.
Ready, Set, Plant
Finally, you’re ready, you pick the date, mark the calendar, and the day to plant the vegetable garden is here. You wake up early, and almost feel as if it is Christmas morning.
Step 1: The day has finally arrived and the first step is to go to the garden shop and pick out the plants you will want to grow. Making sure that these plants are what the entire family will eat. You walk down each aisle of the garden shop checking each plant and their roots for the best looking vegetable plant. Don’t forget some compost if you need it and maybe some Miracle-Gro to get those plants off to a good start.
Step 2: On the way home with your plants, stop by the store and get some beer. The amount of beer you want to buy depends on the temperature, anything below 80 F should be about 2-six packs. A temperature over 85 F equals a case of beer, especially if you are expecting your brother-in-law to stop by.
Step 3: After unloading the plants from the car, have a beer while analyzing the dirt and garden area where you will be planting. Make sure you space your plants so they will not crowd each other and air can circulate around the plants properly. You must leave a path wide enough to walk through. Looking at the actual garden space can sure look different than staring at your garden planner printout for months.
Step 4: Start with a tomato plant. Dig a hole. Make it deep enough to cover the roots and the top couple of roots on the stems of the tomato plant. Check to make sure the hole is deep enough by putting the tomato plant into the hole. Take the plant out and put some compost in the bottom of the hole and add a little Miracle-Gro mixed with water. Drink a beer while admiring the hole.
Step 5: Measure properly to space the next tomato plant. Make sure to imagine how big the plant will be in August and leave room for walking and picking the ripe tomatoes. If you are really unsure how much space to leave between tomatoes, have another beer while contemplating this. Spacing is very important for tomatoes to grow properly.
Step 6: Proceed with steps 4 and 5 until you have planted all the various vegetable plants in their proper places.
Step 7: Now it is time to plant the seeds for other vegetables like carrots, radishes, and other plants you are planning to start by seed. This is where it can get tough.
Tools needed: Chalk line string, hand shovel, T-square and possibly a GPS locator.
Note: If you have had more than 7 or 8 beers by this time, you will need the other tools mentioned. You will have to make a chalk line and check it with the T-square to make sure your lines are straight for the seeds. If not, they will be crooked and or run together, which will look really goofy by July and all your friends and neighbors will laugh at your vegetable garden.
Step 8: With the hand shovel and other tools, draw a straight line and make a row for the seeds, only as deep as the instructions call for on each seed packet. You don’t need to go very deep for seeds, or you will never see a plant grow. After digging the other holes for the actual plants, you feel like digging deeper, but remember, you are planting little seeds, not a fence post.
Step 9: Whew, almost done. Get the hose and a hand sprayer. Turn it to a fine spray and water the seeds in, just enough to wet the dirt. You do not need to make puddles or turn the garden into a flood zone. There will enough spring storms doing that.
Step 10: Wow, you’re done and that was fun, just like it’s supposed to be. Now it’s time to get the lawn chair and a beer. Sit right in front of the garden and admire that beautiful garden as you imagine what it will look like in a couple of months.
Caution: Do not leave an open beer, finish it first. Yellow jackets, wasps and bees love beer as much as you do, and they will find their way into the can or bottle. If they do, and you go to take another drink, well, I don’t have to tell you that could really ruin your day.
Good luck and happy gardening.
© 2010-2016 Sam (Green Thumbs) Montana