It has been a challenging spring. The cold and rainy weather has set back much of the routine gardening work. Early in April we planted salad green plants and peas in our small high tunnel and have been enjoying fresh green salads while patiently waiting for warmer weather to plant other favorite vegetables outside. Our asparagus began producing early this year and the rhubarb has never looked better.

This year we delayed our planting schedule due to the cold and wet soil. Potatoes were planted in early May instead of early April. Onions and leek plants were completed by mid- May. The only other crop that was planted by mid-May was kohlrabi. It is always difficult for us to wait until the end of May to begin planting the warm weather crops. Patience does have its rewards. Planting too early can bring disappointing results due to late frosts or spring storms.

June is the month to plant the heat loving vegetables. These include peppers, eggplant, zucchini, beans, cucumbers, squash, melons and, yes, even tomatoes. These summer vegetables should be watered daily until they are well established. If they dry out, fast and even growth will be impeded.

Avoid allowing weeds to gain a foothold in the garden as they compete with plants for moisture and nutrients. Lightly hoe around plants but pull those weeds that sprout in the rows so they do not overtake or choke out the little shoots.

Continue watering as necessary. A deep slow watering of an inch of water per week is much better for plants. Try to water at least to four or five inches deep. Watering in the morning allows leaves to dry and will prevent sun evaporation. If possible, do not water the plant foliage or allow water to splash from the soil onto the plants. This will help prevent fungal growth and the spread of soil borne diseases.

Sun and heat are essential for heat loving plants to reach flowering and fruiting. When plants begin to flower it is time to fertilize them again. The extra nutrient boost will help blossoms to develop into fruit and keep the plants strong and healthy.

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