Editors note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Offices Master Gardener Program, appears every other week during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
By Darrin Parmenter
For those of you who have practiced patience, the next couple of weeks should be prime time to plant those warm-season vegetable crops. By this time, peas, spinach, carrots, potatoes, lettuces, leafy crops, beets and the brassicas (cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli, etc.) have already been planted. Many of these direct-seed crops have probably emerged, although I wouldnt be surprised if their growth has been limited. May sure seemed cool, dreary and windy, all of which contribute to slow plant growth.
Check the long-range forecast for potential chilly nights (use frost cloth on new transplants or emerging warm-season crops), but here are some crops that could be planted:
b Beans: Your choice would be between pole and bush beans. Pole beans are great because they take advantage of the frequently underused vertical space. Plant 4 to 6 inches apart, and 1 inch deep.
b Sweet corn: Like other warm-season crops, corn germinates better when the soil temperatures are above 50 degrees. Plant in a block of at least four rows wide for pollination. Space plants 9 inches apart and 1 inch deep.
b Cantaloupe, melons (including watermelon): Be a little careful with direct-seeding these crops right now. Depending on soil temperature, they can germinate relatively quickly, and I dont want a surprise frost to nip the tender seedlings. Give them plenty of room to grow by spacing them out 36 to 48 inches. Also plant 1 inch deep.
b Tomatoes: The diva of the garden doesnt like cold nights, so feel free to wait a week or so for temperatures to warm up before planting. Only use transplants, as a direct-seeded tomato wont work here. Look for healthy plants that have a relatively short (70 days or less) days to harvest. Space staked plants 16 to 24 inches apart. Use frost cloth or season extension techniques on cool nights.
email@example.com or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.