Last updated 3/29/2007 at Noon
This is the beginning of a long and glorious growing season. If you have the room and want more fresh winter and spring salad vegetables, keep on planting – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, onions, fresh greens, Asian veggies and greens, radishes, radicchio and endives, to name a few.
It is time to plant the warm weather vegetables in the area (where avocados grow) that hopefully won’t freeze again this year. Before we layout the plants for spring and summer, let’s finish our fertility information. To help our current crops, purchase some humates, which are millions-of-years-old humus trapped under the surface and then mined. Rock dusts, soft rock phosphates and greensand all supply major nutrients. They come from ancient ocean bottoms and are jam-packed full of trace minerals, which are vital to the health of the soil and plants.
Humates and kelp are available in a liquid form. They usually dilute to be used at one ounce of the product in three gallons of water. Study the labels and follow their instructions for the best results. This can help make the plants stronger through these foliar applications for some enhanced short-term plant health. Spray the leaves of the growing plants once a month. This also acts as a bug repellent and adds minerals to the leaves to thicken them and make the plant more frost-resistant.
To mix your own dry organic ingredients, you can buy bags of organic cottonseed meal, bone meal, soft rock phosphate, greensand, alfalfa meal, fish meal and kelp meal. Mix five pounds of each together with 25 pounds of a good compost. Stir well, store in a dry, shady location and use to side dress or as a pre-plant fertilizer or whatever. This makes a great rose food, houseplant food, lawn food and landscape fertilizer, among other things.
All local nurseries and farm supply centers have summer vegetables in pots for sale now – tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, eggplants, corn and more. Plant smaller quantities to leave room for future successions. If you started squash and cucumbers on the windowsill they are probably ready to plant now. Be sure to use some pre-plant fertilizer, as these are all heavy feeders.
For safety from cold spells you can cover the summer veggies with plastic tents or plastic bottles (always use see-through plastic). Cut holes in the covers so the plants can breathe. You can plant smaller spring veggies between the summer crops to extend the harvest.
If you can put a small handful of compost and fertilizer in the hole the transplant is going in, this will give them a good start. Push the plants out of their containers from the bottom rather than pulling out by their stems. In most cases, you can place one hand over the container with the main stem between your fingers. Tip the pot over and shake or tap to loosen the root ball. Handle the freed plant by its root ball rather than the stem. Try to keep the soil from the pot on the root ball to reduce transplant shock.
Organic gardening is a great adventure and expedition into a deeper and more satisfying understanding of vegetable production. You are now a participant rather than a spectator. You share creation. Organic gardening is a partnership with nature.
Have a great week.