One thing to remember while gardening in the high plains is that one needs to add a full 2-4 weeks onto the supposed harvest date on the seed packets. I have never had a radish ready in 21 days. I’ll tell you that much. So, when planting seeds make sure you add an extra few weeks to the math.
#1 Acknowledge disappointments. I started crying, I’ll admit it, when I saw that the plots next to mine had been rototilled. I cried because six inches of their dirt was now flipped upside down on my rows next to theirs. 6 inches of upside down topsoil. Once the seeds that I had planted came up they were all bunched together in a softball sized circle. Once I thin them I will have 4 plants from an entire envelope of seeds.
These things happen. The term “One for God, one for nature, and one for the gardener” is very, very true. You can count on one third of your seeds coming up and surviving. The good news is we can always replant! There are many life lessons in the garden.
Not a single soybean has risen from the soil surface. I will assume they will come up next week. If not, I’ll plant something else.
#2 Note where there are empty spaces. Only half of my zucchini seeds germinated. I didn’t use as much space as I thought I would for tomatoes. There is a strip of empty soil along the south side of the garden that I didn’t plant. I can save them for the second round of cold crops (we’ll plant those in July) or plant annuals, another type of seed that looks intriguing, or more of what we love to eat best. No space unused!
#3 Check your mulch. Right now it is to be a light covering, thicker on the paths. The mulch over the plants is not for weed suppression right now, or the plants won’t come up! It is just lightly covering the soil so it doesn’t dry out or erode or blow away. We’ll mulch thicker as the plants get up and stronger.
#4 Water each day if is no rain. I will never forget my lessons with my friend, Deb, years ago in which she would have me water then ask me if it was watered. I would say yes, she would have me check the soil and it was dry! Three times I watered and directly beneath the surface was completely dry! So I check the soil with my finger. Wet up to the second knuckle and it is watered.
#5 I weed on my hands and knees this early in the season. It helps me not accidentally hoe a vegetable seedling. It helps me see what is coming up and what is not. I can be more intimate with my garden this early in the season to get a better idea of what is going on. I do wish the red ants would move out of the north garden!
#6 Take a few minutes in your garden each day. Even if just to enjoy a few sips of water and watch the birds. Talk to the plants. Encourage them. Sing, hum, sit in the sun.