The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

Setting out sweet and hot pepper plants – Peppers, both hot and sweet are tropical in their nature and warm May nights will promote their growth. You can choose from sweet bells such as California Wonder Door Knob and Big Bertha or hot varieties such as Red Cayenne, Jalepeno and hot bananas. As you plant peppers, keep a distance between the sweet and the hot peppers so that the bees will not cross pollinate them and cause all the peppers to be hot. Pepper plants will grow quite tall and you might want to cage or stake them to support them from thunderstorms and wind. As they grow, give them a shot of liquid fertilizer every week and hill soil up on each side of the plants for extra support.

Plant something every week during spring – Plant a few tomato plants every week to prolong a long season and do the same with squash and cucumbers. You can plant cucumber and squash plants instead of seeds for a different harvest date. Plant another row of green beans to extend the harvest through the summer.

Cleaning up the remainder of pollen – With the pines and oaks finally shedding their load of pollen, all that remains is grass. It is now safe to clean the vehicles and carports as well as driveways of the dusty yellow mess. Clean the car motor with oil spray or Armor-All and wipe the dash and door panels, headlights and windshields. Rinse windows outside the house and wipe the deck table.

A sharp blade makes mowing a lot easier – The grass of May is getting thicker and tougher. A sharp or new mower blade will make the mowing a lot easier. The grass during May can be moist and adhere to the mower’s housing and promote rust. Clean the clippings from the mower housing and spray with a light oil spray such as WD40.

The old fashioned Joseph’s Coat is a beautiful container plant – It was called Joseph’s Coat by my Northhampton County grandma and also by my mother because it was like Joseph’s coat of many colors. When you purchase this annual today, it is name coleus. It comes in four or six packs of assorted colors from pink, yellow, white, burgundy, wine and mixed shades of green. A six pack of coleus in assorted colors costs about three dollars and will fill a large container with colorful display of leafy beauty all the way until frost and another plus is the fact it can be wintered over in a sunny room inside your home. In the spring and especially the summer when it produces seed shoots, pinch them off to promote more leaf growth. Keep them watered until water runs from the hole in bottom of container. Fertilize every 10 days with liquid fertilizer or a Miracle-Grow pep stick.

There is still time to plant hanging baskets and containers of annuals – As May reaches past the halfway mark, there is still plenty of time to plant pots, hanging baskets, and containers for beauty and color all the way into autumn. Almost all hardwares, WalMarts, Home Depots and Lowe’s Home Improvements have plenty of annuals ready to choose from as well as flower potting medium to fill the containers and baskets. You can choose from impatients, begonias, heather, petunias, coleus, portaluca (rose muss), marigolds, vinca, clown flowers, dusty miller, asparagus fern, panda fern, poppy, candy tuft, verbena, zinnias and cosmos. As the days get warmer, water every evening until water runs out of the holes in the bottom of the baskets or containers. Use fertilizer sticks or liquid fertilizer on the containers and baskets every 10 days and water every day.

A large container of rose moss will make a rainbow of daily color – It is a flower of many colors and at least three names. Its called portaluca, rose moss, and desert rose. Its colors are red, orange, yellow, white, pink, wine, tan and light orange. They open at mid-morning and close at night and then produce new blooms the next morning presenting a show of colors different with the rising sun. It thrives in bright sunshine. The best plus about these plants is you know the colors because they are usually in full bloom when your purchase them. They come mostly in nine packs and two packs will plant a large container. The cost around $3.50 per nine pack.

Planting more rows of green beans – A crop of green beans can be harvest 70 days after planting and are the most universal vegetable in the garden because they can be eaten raw in salads, cooked as a meal, frozen, pickled and canned. There are many varieties to choose from including Blue Lake Bush, Kentucky Wonder Bush, Contender Derby, Top Crop, Strike and a host of others. A pound of seed will plant a 50-foot row or two 4×8 foot raised beds.

Enjoying a “Full Flower Moon” next Tuesday evening – The full moon of the month of May will be next Tuesday evening as this moon rises after sunset in the eastern sky and is appropriately named Full Flower Moon. Enjoy it by going for a ride on a country road where the fragrance of honeysuckles perfume the spring time air.

Strawberry fields and strawberry pleasure – Still plenty of time to visit a strawberry field near you and pick or buy a few gallons for pure pleasure. Another pure pleasure is making this dish. Just take 2 cups of vanilla wafers and crush into crumbs or run through blender in grate mode, mix together with one stick of melted margarine for a crust. Pour mixture into a class 12 x 9 x 2“ glass dish to form a crust. Mix an 8 ounce pack of cream cheese with a can of condensed milk until smooth, add 1/3 cup of lemon juice. Spread this over crumb crust. Dissolve a 3 ounce pack of Jell-O in a quart of boiling water And one and a half quarts fresh strawberries. Pour over cream cheese mixture. Chill two hours until firm. Use a package of a dream whip, whipping cream or Cool Whip on top. Yummy!

Ray Baird