Watering, weeding and thinning

Spinach Seedlings

You can remove your row cover now that the days are warmer. Keep it close by though – you should put it back on the garden if temperatures dip below 4 degrees at night.

Now that the sun is finally out and the days are warming up, it is really important to water, water, water. The most common reason vegetable gardens in a sunny location underperform is a lack of water. When you water make sure to water deeply – at least 20 min for a 10’x3′ garden. If regular watering is an issue I suggest getting a simple irrigation system set up. It can be as easy as a weeping-hose or sprinkler on a timer. Set the timer for a good hour from 4:00 – 5:00am so that you don’t loose water to evaporation in the hot sun. As an added bonus the top of the soil has a chance to dry out before slug time (usually dusk). This can drastically reduce your slug population.

While waiting for seeds to germinate and young seedlings to grow in, keep your garden well weeded. Little weed seedlings are easy to pluck from the garden, but once they get established they will out compete your vegetables, and make getting the garden back under control a big job. The key is early and often. Getting into your garden for 10 or 15 minutes every day to check on your plants is your garden’s best protection.

If you planted radish seeds last weekend or earlier, they have probably already sprouted. It is very important that each plant in your garden has enough space around it to grow to maturity. For radishes this is 2 inches of space around each and every plant. Often when planting seeds, you end up with several per spot. It is crucial to thin. Thinning means you choose the strongest, nicest seedling and remove or transplant the rest. Take a look at this video for more a more detailed look.