This could turn out to be an interesting year in the vegetable garden.
I planted some cool weather crops like broccoli. kale, collards, onions and lettuce back in April, but the weather was a little too cool even for them. They sat in the ground in a sort of suspended animation and did nothing for a number of weeks. During this time, there was also a really cold night that nipped the brassicas and set them back even further. Add to all of this that there hasn’t been very much rain and the whole spring garden seems to have gotten off to a very late start. Only now are these plants starting to grow and get settled into their place in the garden.
But as is often the case, a slow, cold spring suddenly changes into summer within a day or two.
In early May that sort of change occurred. Temperatures were in the 70’s and even crept up into the 80’s. Here in south-central PA the frost-free date is around May 15th. But this year, when I checked the Accuweather forecast, I could tell that the frost-free day for 2015 was going to be much earlier. It was May 1st and there was no sign of a cool down in the coming two weeks.
I also noticed something happening in the garden. Volunteer seedlings of squash and tomatoes were starting to pop up in the beds. While I’ll be hoeing out these plants since they’re little more than weeds, they served as a sign to let me know that the soil had warmed enough to allow them to germinate.
With the soil warm and the temperatures safe, I planted most of the warm weather vegetable garden on May 3rd. I transplanted tomatoes, sowed seeds of beans, cucumbers and summer squash.
My early planting seems to have paid off. The squash and beans are germinating, the tomatoes are fine. The only negative is that I had to water some of the plants – that’s unusual in May but until we get some real rain, I think I’ll have to continue doing it.
This year, the peas and broccoli might be later than usual, but I’m likely to have beans and summer squash much earlier than other years. I guess that’s the trade-off with having a late start with cool weather plants and early start with warm weather plants!