May is one of the most thrilling times for gardeners. After a long winter and unpredictable spring, temperatures are fair and the planting free-for-all can begin. When soil temperatures reach 50 degrees on average (meaning your night time temperatures average in the mid-50s) it’s safe to plant all of your warm weather crops.
This month, Trellis for Tomorrow will be working with our Food for All partners and Homegrown Heroes to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers zucchini and squash and a handful of other heat-loving plants. One of the tactics we use to get the most out of our gardens is interplanting.
Growing More by Interplanting
Interplanting is using a given space for two or more crops to share in close proximity. By thoughtfully considering the amount of space each plant needs as well as how long until it will be ready to harvest from the time of its planting, we can create a rotation of productive crops cycling through a relatively small area. For more information on interplanting, aka companion planting, keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post from us, or meet us in the garden!
Getting More by Taking Less
If you are one of those eager gardeners who got started early, or if you are helping to care for one of our incredible Food for All gardens, you may notice an abundance of leafy greens ready to be harvested right about now.
While cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower need to be left alone until harvesting a little later (mid to late May or early June), your lettuces, kale and collards, Asian greens and similar goodies are probably about ready for either wholesale or partial harvesting, but you might get more by harvesting less.
Rather than harvesting the entire head of greens out of the garden, consider cutting or snapping off only the largest outer leaves every week or two. The plant will redirect newfound energy to pushing out more large leaves for multiple harvests!
Eyes on the Prize: Watching for Hungry Helpers and Harbingers of Woe
There is a tremendous amount of activity bursting to life in the garden in the month of May. Many friends and foes in the insect kingdom emerge, and having a garden gives you front row seats. Take time to slow down and smell the flowers, while you’re down there, keep an eye on your plants by regularly checking for evidence of stress, disease, or the damage of uninvited garden guests.
Things are not always as they seem, though, so before you reach for that can of spray, learn more about how to manage your relationship with these new neighbors in our blog post Space Invaders!
A garden can be a great teacher of patience and mindfulness, and some of these tiny tutors are only there to help you grow in new ways.
Tomatoes: A Treasure Trove of Garden Goodness
Tomatoes are one of the most rewarding, though somewhat challenging crops to grow. Though they are often planted in May, that’s just the beginning of a potentially months long affair that can fill your life with fun, flavor and/or infrequent frustration. For some of our tips for growing really great tomatoes, check out our blog post on Growing Rocking Roma Tomatoes (a good read no matter what variety you’re growing.)
Happy gardening everyone, and stay tuned for more tips and tricks from Team Trellis!