Although we recently found out there will be six more weeks of winter — thanks, Punxsutawney Phil — now is a great time for looking ahead and compiling some great resources for your summer garden. And what is better for those rainy, spring days than sitting down and laying out all the fruits and vegetables you are wanting to grow this summer.
This is the time to look back on last year’s garden and see what worked well and what did not. Maybe you feel like your produce would have done better if your soil had more minerals added to it, or you had added more compost to it. Sometimes the soil is perfect but the weather or rodents had different ideas of what happened in your garden. Setting up some small hoop house frames or doing some light fencing can make or break all your hard work.
Depending on what produce you are hoping for, you may be able to get seeds and plants started sooner rather than later. Seems like we are blessed with a pretty short growing season anyway and with that pesky groundhog setting us up for more snow, we can look forward to starting an array of seeds in our homes.
Starting late March or early April you can start your favorite pepper and tomato seeds. Check out the flyer on our website for Genesee’s Tastiest Tomato contest winners from the last few years for some recommended varieties. Potatoes are a fun veggie that love early spring planting so it’s in May that we can think about getting them into the ground outside. Also in May we can start leafy greens and cool weather crops indoors, such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli and beets.
Once your starts are well established and ready for planting it should be close to June. June is outside planting weather, just be aware that we get frosts monthly in some parts of Latah County so keep an eye on the temperatures and have cover available when needed. Plants that love heat and want to be planted a bit later can now be started inside. These include cucumbers, carrots, and beans. Starting these in June should get them ready for outside planting in July. After July comes the hard part … waiting. Tending to your garden by weeding, watering and fertilizing can seem like a chore some days. But once these plants start flowering and putting on fruit our efforts will start to pay off in the form of yummy, edible treats.
Not sure what seeds you want to try this year? Some of our local libraries offer seed exchanges. Want to try a new pepper but don’t want to plant a whole packet of seeds? Try swapping some of them out at the Deary, Moscow or Troy libraries for a new squash or maybe a lettuce. Moscow is hosting a Grab & Go Garden in place of its usual Palouse Exchange-A-Seed (PEAS) seed library. Each branch is doing things a bit differently so give them a call or stop in to speak to Brittany, Bailey or Michelle. While you are there look at our large selection of books on gardening, from small scale farming to container gardens on your back porch. And always, happy planting.
Brittany Griffin is the branch manager for the Bovill and Deary libraries of the Latah County Library District.