The June Garden

I really try to spread my work load out over the summer and so I wait until June to plant my tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchini.  It is only a small kitchen garden, but nevertheless, it does even things out somewhat.  I also find that temperatures in May are still erratic and this year  has been unusually cool.  So, by keeping my transplants in a small glass frame, they grow much better than they would in the garden.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my gardening dilemnas – I no longer live on a 50 acre farm but on a tiny lot with no backyard other than a steep limestone bank.  So my garden is confined to about 300 square feet of my front lawn in front of my shed.  It would be tempting to dig up the lawn in front of my house, but I think my children would disown me.  The point of all this rambling?  Well, the point is that there are only 4 beds in my garden.  The first bed has shell peas in it.  The second has my April planting of greens, spinach, radishes, green onions, lettuce and beets, and the third has my May planting of greens, spinach, lettuce, endive, beets, beans, etc.  There is one bed left open but I want to plant salad vegetables, more beans and some herbs as well as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini.

The challenge is to find a place for 2 beds in my June planting.  The peas are still growing and won’t be finished until the end of June or early July and the May planting is still small.  But April’s spinach and salad greens are finished and the rest of the bed is steadily being harvested.  So the trick is to reuse this April bed even though it is not completely finished.  In the space that the greens and spinach occupied, dig it all under and compost any larger plants.  Replant this area with tomatoes and/or peppers.  In the rest of the space, leave what is there and plant strategically where there are gaps.  All of your peppers, zucchini, and cucumbers are still relatively small and can fit in the small spaces that you picked green onions or lettuce from.  Later, when they begin to grow, all of your April harvest will be finished.

Add a small amount of compost to the area where each plant is to go, but don’t worry about fertilizing the whole bed.  Tomatoes and peppers do not like a lot of compost – they will grow into huge bushy plants but will not produce much fruit.  Cucumbers and zucchini can use about a shovelful of compost for each plant – they do like the fertility.

In this way, you can get far more out of your small garden space while maintaining a far smaller garden throughout the year.

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