Gardening June 2020

From Mélie’s Garden

“Gardening has been proven to fight depression and anxiety, so those of us who are fortunate to be in our garden are truly blessed.” I came across this quote during my reading recently. Unfortunately, I scribbled down the quote without writing down the name of the person who wrote it, but I very much agree with the author. Not only is the exercise good for you, but also the close observation of the natural world is very healing and comforting during this worrisome time.

As I have written before, I have been starting seeds inside this spring and have found it very challenging!  I do not own the proper equipment, which according to Margaret Roach, in her New York Times article this week, definitely requires Grow Lights to be successful. So my poor little seedlings have struggled to meet the light and have become very leggy. When the weather has been warm enough, I have taken them outside to get more sunlight and have brought them inside as the day cools off.  This spring has been quite cold on Fishers Island, so I haven’t dared to transplant the seedlings into the garden yet. When I do – I will protect the plants as best I can from the cool wind with a “Tunnel Cloche” for the squash plants and “Tomato Cloches” for the tomatoes. What I have learned doing this project is that the squash family seems to transplant into larger pots far more successfully than zinnias and sunflowers. The pumpkins, zucchini, and yellow squash seem very happy in their larger pots, but many of the flower seedlings have not survived the transplant being much more fragile. So from now on, I will plant those flower seeds directly in the garden in mid-May or early June.

In last week’s New York Times, Margaret Roach had an excellent article on seed starting and I highly recommend reading it. Margaret was an editor of Martha Stewart Living for many years and she has a weekly public radio show on the Robin Hood Radio station in Sharon, CT. Her podcasts are available once per week on A Way to  The New York Times has recently hired her to do two weekly columns. Even though I have gardened for many years, I certainly can’t be called a horticulturalist. I try to pass on helpful hints that I have found useful, especially gardening in a challenging place like Fishers Island, but Margaret Roach is definitely a knowledgeable horticulturalist. She has many associates, who are experts in various horticultural fields, so I have found her articles and podcasts to be most informative. She has also written a book, A Way to Garden – a hands on primer for every season which would be a great addition to your gardening library.

Hardening off seedlings outside before transplanting into garden, and using a tunnel cloche to help the tomatoes grow.

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