Friday, May 4, 2018

Preparation for 2018 Planting

by Ed Powers
I live in the Evergreen/Conifer area at about 7600 ft.  I have lived on several areas of the Midwest and West and gardened in all of them. But I find this area to be the most challenging and fulfilling.  I have learned that you should buy plants that grow fast and bloom or fruit in a short period of time.  Also, do not put them out too early and make sure they are hardened off when planting them.  I have always had to do this but it is more critical at our elevation.  Also, it is not a good idea to plant before June 1 unless you are planting cool season crops, such as root crops or some types of lettuce, cabbages, or spinach.

So, after 6 years of gardening here, reading and experimental planting this what I have come up with:
·        ·    I clean my 2 raised gardens in late fall or very early spring.
·        - I bring in some tomato plants when the season is over with and grow them inside.
·    I plant beet, rutabaga, turnips and carrots in mid-March.
·    I plant the other seeds I want to put in my gardens indoors in a well-lit area of my basement.
·    I start my smallest flower and vegetable seeds in peat pots with starting soil and my larger seeds in starting sponge inserts.

·    I cover them for at first and when they have sprouted and have the first set of leaves I uncover them.
·    I transplant large plants in bigger peat pots as needed.
·    In early May I will clean my wife’s deck railing pots and ready them for flowers.
·    In mid-May I start putting my plants out to harden the off.  I put them out in dappled shade at first so they don’t get too much sun, and gradually give them more sun. At first, I may bring them inside in the evening or I may choose just to cover them.
·    In late May or early June, I plant my gardens.
·    At this time, I also trim back the tomatoes I overwintered in the house and replant them.
I then water, fertilize and tend them for the summer-hope for a good crop and pretty flowers. 

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