The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Saint Dunstan’s Day arrives Saturday – Could he be the last harbinger of cool spring temperatures? Saturday, May 19, 2018 is known as Saint Dunstan’s Day. It is said that on his day, we can be assured there will be no more frost this spring. I think it is a very sure thing that we can bank on being true. We may have a few cool nights, but certainly no frost. There have been some frosts in May but they were very early in the month, very light and definitely not a killing frost. Anything that is a warm weather vegetable crop can be planted with anticipation of a great harvest.

Still getting an extra minute of daylight – We are still getting an extra minute of daylight each evening and will continue to do so until June 21, 2018. Enjoy these extra minutes to get lawn and garden chores done and to make that extra visit to the strawberry field near you for the ingredients for a large strawberry shortcake or punchbowl cake!

Keep planting the rows of corn – Corn needs to be planted soon because after all, it is a 80 to 90 day harvest vegetable crop and in this long growing season, it needs to be sown soon so you can have time to succeed it with another vegetable crop in late summer. Fertilizer for corn rows should be applied evert 10 days because corn in a heavy feeding vegetable growing from five to seven feet tall.

Summer squash can be planted – The seed of summer squash will grow quickly in warm, spring soil and should be ready for a harvest 60 days from germination. Plant seeds three to four to a hill and thin to two plans when they germinate. Set about them about to two and half feet apart. Fertilize with a liquid fertilizer every 10 days. Good varieties are Early prolific, Yellow Crookneck, Enterprise yellow, Saffron yellow straight. We prefer the straightnecks because have less water and are more meaty with smaller seeds. Summer squash perform well in rows or beds.

Still plenty of time for Four o’Clocks – Four o’Clocks will respond well to the warm soil of mid-May and quickly grow into large, lush, green bushes in time colorful blooms from late June all the way until frost. You can choose from colors of red, white, pink, yellow and wine. Assorted color packs cost less than $2 at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes and home improvement stores. They can be planted from seed into beds or pot or containers and when they are two inches tall, they can be transplanted to wherever you would like them to grow.

A pretty contained of Forget-Me-Nots – There are no many flowers that are blue, but the forget-me-nots are one of them that can be planted in a container from seeds, but best results for a long summer of blooms is to buy forget-me-not plants and transfer them to a large container or pot filled with fine potting medium. They can be found as plants in many hardwares and seed packets can be found at Walmart, Home Depot and Lowers.

Starting a few eggplants for a long productive harvest – One of the most delicate of garden vegetables is the eggplant. Because it is leafy and tender, it has plenty of insect enemies that have to be dealt with when raising them. In spite of this, they are worth planting because they can produce fruit over a long season in a small amount of space. Keep plants sprayed with a light mist of sevin from a windex bottle every week. Five or six plants will produce about two to two and a half feet apart. They will definitely need cages and stakes to support them from gusty winds and thunderstorms. The eggplant itself is a heavy vegetable and needs that stake and cage to support them. Fertilize them with a liquid fertilizer once a week and irrigate them when it doesn’t rain for a few days.

Planting the summer tomato crop – The bulk of this year’s tomato crop can be set out in the next two week and then plant several each week for as long as you can find plants to assure a very long harvest. Best tomato choices are: Marglobe, Homestead, Rutgers, Big Boy, Better Boy, Whopper, Roma and Beefy Boy as well as Early Girl. All tomatoes need support of stakes and cages whether they are indeterminate or determinate or even container types. Never use 10-10-10 on tomato plants, but use Vigaro pellet high calcium or Miracle-Gro liquid tomato fertilizer for tomatoes.

The choice of straightneck squash or crookneck squash – Which is best? If you like squash with plenty of water in them and larger seeds, you will like crookneck squash. If you prefer meaty, uniformly sized, less watery, easier to cube and cut, more tender, easier to cook, bake and fry and use in casseroles, than the straightneck is best. Straightnecks come in several varieties. Whether you prefer crooks or straights, harvest them with small and smooth skinned with smaller seeds. Pick often to promote more blooms and longer production.

Making a fresh strawberry delight – Strawberry season is now in full swing and it’s a perfect time to make this easy dessert the whole family will enjoy. You will need one angel food cake, one five ounce can of evaporated milk, 16 ounces of sour cream, one package of strawberry pie glazed mix, one quart of fresh strawberries halved, half cup of sugar, and one container of Cool Whip. Cut cake into one inch cubes, fold in milk, sugar, sour cream and fold into the angel food cake. Put into a nine by twelve by two inch glass dish. Spread glazed strawberry mix over the strawberry and cake combo evenly. Spread on the container of Cool Whip. Chill several hours or overnight.

Ray Baird