Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Spring is officially over, summer is officially here. So it’s time to check progress on spring plans made long ago, and figure out ‘where to go from here’ in the garden. (Zone 5 focused)
Didn’t get that vegetable garden planted? Well, if you haven’t done that yet, you probably ought to wait until next year, unless you are willing to ‘settle’ for late season ‘cool crops’ which you would plant later in the summer. And, you might still get some green beans if you plant now. But you can be more ready for next year if you spend some time in the fall digging up the area where you want to put the garden (provided it hasn’t already been dug up.)
Not sure you have enough containers planted? You might be able to do a few more containers, but you have to be careful not to end up paying a premium for plants at the garden centers. I find they offer two types of annual plants right now. There are the half priced flats that have been sitting around since early May that have been picked over or passed up for some reason. Buy with caution, these are probably quite root bound and won’t necessarily live up to their potential. Then there are overpriced larger annuals, grown specifically to be sold as larger plants. I think the growers are targeting the true procrastinators with these plants, which can take a big chunk out of your wallet if you aren’t careful, and do you really want to spend that much on annuals?
Didn’t get that fantastic tulip display you had hoped for? Of course most everyone knows that the time to prepare for a big tulip display is not spring but fall, so if you missed it, you still have time to plan for next year. I’m already receiving bulb catalogs in the mail. (In the category of “you can’t make this stuff up”… I used to work at a hardware store with a garden department and in the spring, people would come in and ask if we had tulips for sale. I explained, again and again, that tulip bulbs are planted in the fall. This was before the growers caught on and started to sell pots of blooming tulips in the spring, presumably for those who forgot, or didn’t know, to plant bulbs in the fall!)
Didn’t get that new shed, patio, or other hardscape item completed? No problem, summer is a good time to do those types of projects that don’t involve planting. Why waste good spring planting weather on this type of activity, anyway? You may sweat a little more in the summer, but at least your aren’t giving up prime gardening time in the spring on non-planting activities.
Didn’t plant those trees and shrubs like you had planned? As long as you haven’t purchased them yet, don’t sweat it. It is true that “fall is for planting”, so this is a good thing to wait on.
Didn’t mulch your beds? You can mulch anytime, just get at it, and you’ll be glad you did. The garden will look better with a fresh layer of mulch.
Didn’t relax and enjoy the gardens in the spring because you were so busy trying to get everything planted? Now is definitely the time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the gardens. Yes, there are weeds, and places not quite planted, and shrubs to trim, and grass to mow and soon vegetables to harvest. But remember, gardening is supposed to be relaxing and what better way to relax than to just sit back and enjoy the garden world you have created! I bought a hammock for just this very purpose!
(The picture above is some tiger lilies that someone gave me when I first moved in 9 years ago. I planted them in a "holding bed" on the side of the house, and they are still there. I'm not sure what I'm holding them for, but I like them where they are.)