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June 10, 2013

Growing season off to slow start

What an interesting spring we have had. I’m surprised our garden plants know which way to grow. 

Early May was glorious and sunny, but very dry. Then the nor’easter arrived with 5 inches of rain and weeks of cloudy, overcast skies. Snow in the mountains and a light frost on Memorial Day, and then that awful heat wave in the 90s just two days later, and now we’re back to cold and rainy. If your gardens aren’t looking their best right now, no wonder!

My perennial flower garden is actually doing pretty well with lots of lush growth, and I’ve been trying hard to keep up with the weeds and encroaching grass. Most of my setbacks are with seedlings and transplants. My porch is still covered with flats of flowers I started from seed indoors as well as several packs of transplants I’ve bought at various places over the past few weeks. Just when I’m ready to set them in the garden, another weather event approaches. Most of my plants are small enough that they can wait a bit longer under the protection of the porch before having to face the elements head-on. And I haven’t planted any of my warm-season seeds yet, such as beans, squash, melons and pumpkins, although I do have some cucumbers sprouting in small pots on my porch.

I set out a few tomato plants just before the heat wave, and they are looking quite bedraggled. The largest plants look the worst, and the smaller ones seem to have weathered the pounding a bit better. If you have just a few plants of something and they’ve taken a beating but haven’t died, you have two choices. You can either give them some time to revive, or you can cut your losses and plant a few replacements. It’s early enough in the month that transplants are still widely available. I’m going to plant some extra tomatoes for insurance. I may end up with a few too many, but I’d rather have that than not enough.

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