Last week’s frost bit the potato sprouts, turning them black but now they are sending up new green shoots . The mesclun mix lettuce didn’t seem to be affected, perhaps the straw used for a weed barrier helped insulate them. The Russian Blue Kale is very cold hardy and the spinach and Rainbow Swiss Chard can handle chilly temperatures.
Many gardeners were likely scrambling for tarps, buckets and sheets to cover tender plants they just couldn’t wait to get in the ground. It is so tempting to exuberantly snug all the seedlings into the garden on beautiful 80 degree spring days. However, tomatoes and melons are tropical in origin and so don’t care for our low temperatures and exhibit their displeasure at being put out too early by wilting, turning yellow and, in worst case scenarios, dying altogether, much to the dismay of the eager gardener.
Now that we are in the third week in May, it is reasonably safe to plant everything into the garden including direct sowing.
Last week, the Mountain Laurel Montessori School junior high students came out and helped us get the remainder of our plants in the garden. They transplanted 50 tomatoes, a flat of watermelons and cantaloupe, a row of squash and zucchini and various herbs and miscellaneous seedlings. We really appreciate their help and enjoyed talking with them about their garden at the Flint Hill campus and experiences growing under hoop houses. They spoke of a new retail outlet for their garden goodies at the Front Royal campus, selling their items at the local farmers market and donating large amounts of produce to the food pantry, in addition to harvesting the vegetables for their own use and learning how to prepare them. We applaud the students’ initiative and hard work and hope theirs is the most productive garden year ever!!