Seeds from Sassamansville - May

Posted: May, 2012 | Linda Boyer

Wonderful, glorious May! Open the windows, take that extra blanket off the bed, and head out to the garden. For me, May represents new beginnings, and day dreaming of things I want to do this summer. Lately, I have been dreaming of thick slices of tomatoes off the vine and steamy, roasted ears of sweet corn. We have some work to do before sitting down at a July picnic with these treasures on our plate.

For most gardeners, our crop starts one of three ways: we sow seeds directly in the garden, start seeds in a container to transplant, we buy established plants. If you are sowing seeds to transplant, here are some easy ideas. Fill paper cups with a soil-less mix. Drop a few seeds on top and cover the seeds with a thin layer of the same mix. Use a spray bottle to mist the seedlings as needed. Keep moist but not wet. Loosely cover with plastic wrap to simulate a greenhouse environment and place in a sunny area. When the seeds sprout, remove the plastic cover. As the plants become big enough, either transplant them into garden pots or plant them directly into the garden.

Next on the list is getting the soil prepared for planting. Find your favorite shovel (we all have a favorite) or start up the rototiller. If you applied a winter cover of mulch, cultivate this in along with organic compost and dried manure. Cultivate only the top 10” – 12” of your garden; most roots don’t go any deeper than 12”. Improving the soil will result in a garden that has good nutrients, better water absorption, and loose, aerated soil. Most of all, good, rich soil grows healthy bountiful crops!

Soil temperature is important. If you are planting seeds directly into the garden, a few degrees can make a big difference in germination. To warm the soil, simply cover your garden with a sheet of plastic for a few days to a week.

Don’t forget the hat, gloves and sunscreen. Garden tomatoes! Can’t you just taste them?