May 28, 2017

Planting Everything

It is Memorial Day weekend and for many gardeners in my neck of the woods, that means planting time. This weekend is generally a good indicator that the worst is behind us as far as the weather goes (hopefully). I can’t say for sure that there haven’t been any freak accidents where in the first week of June a blanket of snow had fallen, or a rogue frost hit, but for the most part we should be safe.

This year we have had a lot of rain. The plants really seem to like this and so do I because it has kept down the amount of watering I’ve had to do. In fact, I think I have watered once so far this year. At first I was a bit concerned because I know plants like potatoes do not really care to be constantly wet, but it looks like the layer of compost they are planted in is doing a good job of moisture regulation because they are healthy and growing well.

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Although this is a good time to start getting things like Peppers, Tomatoes, and Melons in the ground to start growing, I do have plants that are ready to harvest and some that are quite close.

First, radishes being one of the quickest growing vegetables in the garden, have been ready for a few weeks and we’ve been using these for salads, taco garnishes, and just snacking on. The variety that I am growing is called “French Breakfast” and they are not as bitter/spicy as the radishes that are often sold in grocery stores. So far I have pulled about 1/2 lbs of radishes out, but there is a lot of them in the ground waiting their turn.

French Breakfast Radishes

Because we grow leaf lettuce and prefer the flavor, we can harvest our plants multiple times before having to remove them from the garden. Friday marked our second harvest from the plants this year. With the weather the way it is, and as much rain as we are getting, I expect to get at least one harvest a week for the remainder of the summer. This year I used a lettuce mix with varieties such as “Deer Tongue”, “Red Romaine”, “Buttercrunch”, and “Cimmaron” to name a few. Planting these in the 12ft by 3ft bed, it is our aim for these to become a staple in the household for most of the year.


If you like peas, then you may just like pea shoots. They can be harvested well before any peas show up on the plants and make great additions to salads as they taste just like peas. If you don’t like peas or pea pods because of texture, but do like the flavor, the shoots are a great alternative. I generally don’t harvest the shoots off of all of my plants as that can really slow down the timing on when you’ll actually have ripe peas, but some do get chosen to sacrifice.

Pea Shoots

For those of you that prefer fruits and berries, it is nearing that time where strawberries can be harvested. Currently there are hundreds of berries in my strawberry bed and you can see them starting to change color from yellow to red. Right now they are slightly small and I noticed a number of the leaves near the ground turning yellow. Generally, yellow leaves on strawberries indicate a nitrogen deficiency, which could explain the size of the fruit as well. I plan to address this soon. Expecting my first berries to be ready within the next couple of weeks.

The raspberries on the other hand are flowering on last years canes and should produce fruit following the strawberries. Because these are ever bearing plants, I will get a crop in early summer, and then a second crop in the early fall on the new primo-canes. Not a bad transition of berries if you ask me.

Strawberry Ripening

Raspberry Flowering

Luckily there was a gap in the rain on Friday that allowed us to plant some of the “horde” as we have been calling them. Our peppers, tomatoes, tomatillo, and ground cherries all have been successfully moved out into the garden in full sun and a few were planted.

All of the peppers have been transplanted into their permanent home. Many of them already have peppers on them since they have been growing since the end of January (see May 7, 2017 post). You’ll notice that a few of the leaves are discolored due to some sunburn during the hardening off period. I will say that this is fairly minimal compared to previous years. Success! When transplanting them, I made sure to add some worm castings into the hole and then again on the surface of the ground to add some natural fertilizer to the soil for improved growth. I also am trying something new this year where I spread Mycorrhizal Fungi on the roots of the plants as I transplant them. This fungi and the plant form a symbiotic relationship where the fungi helps to extend the roots reach of nutrients, further than the plant could do on it’s own. There are a number of pictures on the internet that show the difference in health/growth of a plant with and without this fungi. So I am experimenting with it this year to compare plants that have it verses those that don’t.

Planting Peppers - Adding Worm Castings

Planting Peppers - Adding Mycorrhizal Fungi

Planting Peppers - Placement

Peppers Planted

The ground cherries also found their garden box and are now set to focus their energy on ripening the many cherries already on the plant. As with the peppers, I planted one with and one without the Mycorrhizal Fungi and we will see if there are any difference. The front one has it, the back does not.

Ground Cherries

Finally, a few of the tomato plants have been transplanted. The pruning of these plants did not go as planned, but I did not want to give up on them yet. When I planted them, I buried the main stem completely. Taking each arm, I buried these as well up to a point. The end result looked like there were four separate plants. When you bury the stems of tomato plants, they will actually form roots all the way up to where the dirt no longer covers the plant. This strengthens it and gives it more “arms” to collect nutrients from. The ones in this box will eventually bush out and start producing (hopefully) a large number of tomatoes. That’s the plan at least! This is a new technique I am trying this year. Last year I grew them skyward, up a bamboo pole. Depending how this goes, I may switch back to that method next year.

German Pink Tomato

There is still a lot of work to do in the garden, as one can always find things to do there. While putting new things in their rightful places, it is nice to watch all your hard work flourish and race to maturity, and to be able to enjoy a few spring delicacies in the meantime.

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About the Author

Geoff has been growing plants and vegetables consistently for the last 6 years and actively experiments with, and writes about, all aspects of gardening.


  1. Did you do both castings and fungi? Or some only castings and some only fungi? Also, you should do a segment on dill. Thanks!

    • With every transplant I added worm castings while planting. Most of them received fungi as well, except for the experimental plantings where I’m comparing the effect of the fungi addition. I will absolutely do one on dill!

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