Plenty of time left to get garden planted

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By Cheryl Steenerson

OK, enough with the rain already. Let’s expect the sun to come out. It will and it will warm up and dry up. Remember how it stayed warm long into fall? Well, keep that in mind. Our gardens will flourish. They just won’t be producing as early as we want.
Big deal.
Those of you down hearted because you haven’t even tilled yet need to just chill. It is not too late to get the garden going. We have plenty of time to grow our favorite veggies. It may be late August before we start canning, but we will can.
I think now is a good time to let you know just how late you can plant things. Get the seeds you need and then get plants for those you can. Some things just have to be started from direct seeding in the garden. Keep in mind that seed packages list the days to harvest right on the package. That means the time it takes from package to plate. Grown plants, that come in trays, gives you a jump start.
Beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and squash should be planted by the end of May. Beans, carrots and squash come in seed form. You can plant corn, cucumber, okra, potatoes and onions well into June. The corn, potatoes and most onions come in seed form. Eggplant, muskmelon, pepper, sweet potato, tomato and watermelon can be stretched out into late July. You can find all but the sweet potato in plant form.
Those are all great for the summer garden. The fall garden gives you even more time. We plant the fall garden in July. The good thing is that a fall garden usually has fewer pests for things like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, parsnip, pumpkin, snow peas and spinach to contend with over the season.
Now, aren’t you a little less stressed about getting that garden in? I hope so because gardening actually relieves stress. It also gives your body a great workout and you don’t even have to pay a gym fee.
We can work around the mud, you know. We can still fence and weed and build raised beds.
We can fertilize perennials and check for disease on plants, shrubs and trees. Just resist tilling the soil until it’s fairly dry. It should crumble, not clump. Damp is OK, drenched is not.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a little below normal precipitation and temperatures for the month. We always seem to work between sunshine and showers in May anyway. I believe in giving my garden all the advantages that I can and that means planting by the moon and signs, when I can.
The moon will be waxing (getting bigger) until the 17th, which is good for planting crops that grow it’s goodies above ground. This weekend, the zodiac sign is in Libra Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Not a great sign for growing. Next weekend, it’s in Capricorn which is a pretty good sign for growing. So, prep the soil this weekend if you can and plant the next.
Don’t forget the Humane Society’s annual shot clinic is this Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the county park, rain or shine. We’ll have the ramada to protect us from the weather.
Now, go shopping. Get those seeds and plants to have on hand.
Start those stretches and exercises to get in shape for all that work. I recommend getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing mud off the floors.
Happy growing!

Cheryl Steenerson is a gardening columnist for The Anderson News.