Consequently, gardening tasks were structured around small breaks in the weather. On the plus side, the spring flowers and flowering trees were gorgeous this year. I've been following the La Nina weather pattern and there's a good possibility Zone 5 will see hot, dry weather this summer. That pattern might have already started. Over the past few days, we have had unseasonably hot weather with temperatures in the 90s.
2011 marks my first year for raised bed gardening. The three raised beds were assembled, placed and filled with compost, peat moss and potting soil in early May. The first bed was planted with green bush snap beans (Burpee's Tenderpick, 54 day maturity) and Black Beauty eggplant. The beans sprouted two weeks ago. A small number of sprouts have died due to root rot (from the wet soil condition). These spots were replanted. Beans are smooth, straight, 5 1/2" long, and excellent for freezing. The eggplant plants came from a local garden center. Maturity is 80 days. Already, the black flea beetles - the size of a pinhead but very voracious - have found the eggplants. Considered a bane to eggplant, the beetles makes lattice work out of the leaves. Unfortunately, the damage is not just cosmetic, it can affect yield. For now, I am picking the beetles off as I see them.
The second bed contains herbs: sage, dill, chives and basil as well as sweet onion bulbs and two rows of Burpee's Short 'n Sweet carrots. This carrot variety produces sweet roots approximately 4" long. In a few days, I will be thinning the carrots. Carrots mature 68 days after sowing.
The third bed contains three kinds of peppers - red, yellow and green - that I started from seeds. I also planted two kinds of Burpee loosehead type lettuce: Green Ice (45 days) and Red Salad Bowl (50 days). Lettuce grows best in cool weather but I was not able to get the seeds planted as early as I should have. I am using an umbrella to help shade the tender plants from the hot sun. Fire 'n Ice radishes round out the third bed. This Burpee radish is a French Breakfast-type radish. Its roots are 3-4" long, mild and delicate, colored red and white. The radish is ready to eat in approximately 25 days.
Getting the Burpee Silver Queen corn - a white normal sugar hybrid variety - into the potting shed garden took some patience. Again, the rain. I prepped the ground (weeded and turned over the soil) and it started to rain just as I finished. When I had a two day window, I turned the soil to a depth of 4 inches to expose and dry it out. This made the soil workable. On the second day, the seeds went in late in the day. It rained that evening. As of this writing, roughly 70 percent of the kernels have sprouted.
I finally finished planting all of the tomato starts over the Memorial weekend. Still to get in: some remaining cabbage and melon starts, pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini and squash seeds.
Dill and Chives