Your warm weather vegetables are in the ground, and your lettuce, kale, chard, radishes and spinach are flourishing.
There are a couple of important tasks to add to your list of things to do in the garden.
We have provided you with seed packs (please let me know if you didn’t get yours, and I will make sure Shawn brings you one when he comes by this week or next to check on your garden.
These seeds are a gift to get you started on replanting the vegetables you harvest from your garden, and to get you going on your fall planting. I will let you know by email when it is time to use these seeds.
When you harvest lettuce, you can harvest the whole plant, cut 1″ above the ground and let it grow again or you can harvest just the outer leaves you need for your salad and let the inner ones keep growing. Either way, as a lettuce gets older, the taste and texture get tough and bitter. Before this happens (late june) you should remove the plant roots and all and replant it with a seed. You can start the seeds indoors to get a head start on your lettuce and keep your garden as productive as possible
Anything that is flowering (spinach, roquette, rapini) needs to be harvested often, as these plants will get tough and bitter if they start to go to seed. Make sure to keep these plants short by cutting down any central stalks to discourage flowering. The spinach, radish, beets and carrot seeds should only be replanted in late-July or early-August for a fall harvest, as these plants do not germinate well in the heat.
On the back of the seed packets, I have written instructions such as 9/sq ft 8 weeks. This means that you plant 9 seeds in each square in the grid, and that the vegetable (say beets) takes 8 weeks to mature, from seed to harvest. Please let me know if you have any questions. I will write you an email when it is time to use your seeds!
The next important matter at hand is caring for your tomatoes. Tomato plants do not climb on their own. In order for them to go up the trellis, you need to train them. This means wrapping their central stalk around the trellis once a week or so. Since the tomato is a vine, it grows “suckers” which eventually turn into branches. These take energy away from growing fruit, and make the plant to big and bushy. You need to remove the suckers weekly as well. They are found in the “crotch” between the central stalk and the leaves. See video for more instructions. Sorry about the sound quality. The next video will be better.
Water, water, water. You can leave out an empty yoghurt container or tuna tin near the garden. Each week you need 1.5″ to 2″ of water. Your container will let you know if you have enough water from rain.
Weed, weed, weed. Small weeds look innocuous and innocent, but when it is warm, wet and sunny they can get out of control quickly and take away precious resources from your veggies.
Don’t forget your cayenne pepper, chilli flakes or other animal deterrent. You need to reapply each week at least, and again after each rainfall.
To keep slugs out of your garden, you can mulch with coffee grounds or eggshells, or both. Diatomaceous earth is also effective, and considered appropriate for an organic garden, but I have never used it personally, and I suspect it might be detrimental to beneficial insects and worms.