There’s still have time to put in your vegetable garden!
Warm weather is here and the conditions for establishing many plants begins to diminish, except for those plants that like it hot.Several vegetables can be planted right now. Here are a few warm season vegetables that really like warm conditions. Here’s a run down on vegetables that either like it hot or don’t mind it hot.
We are on the downhill side for establishing beans, so plant right away or wait until the fall planting dates. Beans are super sensitive to cold, wet soils and will generally protest cold conditions by failing seedlings, yellow leaves, poor slow growth and young plants falling over. If you look at the stem just below the soil line, there is often a lesion. This is typical of damping off, which is a seedling disease that attacks newly germinated seedlings, especially those that need warm conditions.
Plant beans in a sunny location in well-drained soils. Till or spade soils 6-8 inches deep, add 2-3 inches of organic matter and a little pre-plant fertilizer. Plant seeds about an inch deep and thin plants 3-4 inches apart — place them further apart for pole beans.
When plants are 6-8 inches tall they may need additional nitrogen fertilizer. Fertilizer can be applied on both sides of the row a few inches away from the stem.
This is also a good time to mulch the plants with a few inches of organic mulch. If plants begin to develop yellow new leaves with green veins, an application of iron may be necessary.
Watermelon and cantaloupe need to also be planted right now. Melons like it warm and will come up in 7 to 10 days with good soil prep and proper planting.
Choose a site that has well-drained soils, full sun, good air circulation and lots of room — because these babies can cover some territory. Melons can be trained up a fence or trellis, or even a large tomato cage. With trellising you’ll need to fashion slings to hold and support the developing melons.
Till the soils 8 to 10 inches deep, if possible, and mix plenty of organic matter into the soil.
Melons need 2-3 small doses of fertilizer. Give water?melons fertilizer at the pre-plant stage and again before runners are 6 inches long.
Cantaloupes need a pre-plant fertilizer and a second little application when vines begin to run.
Keep plants mulched with 3-4 inches of organic mulch once they are up and about to begin to run.
Soils should be kept moist but don’t overdo it. Water deeply whenever soil begins to dry out.
Too much water and too much nitrogen will cause melons to develop less sugar and be on the bland side.
Pumpkins can be treated with much the same guidelines as the watermelons and cantaloupe. They too can be planted ASAP. Both melons and pumpkins are great plants to plant with kids.
Probably the most heat-loving vegetable is okra. This tasty vegetable can be planted as late as early June in a full sun, well-drained soil with 2-3 inches of organic matter added. Compost or fertilizer can be added at the rate of 1 pound per 100 square feet.
Till or spade everything 8-10 inches deep before planting.
Soak okra seed overnight to speed up the germination and plant seeds in moist soil.
Space rows 3-4 feet apart and thin 2-inch high seedling plants 12-18 inches apart in the row. Shortly after thinning, side dress okra with 1 cup of ammonium sulphate for every 35 feet of row.
Don’t apply mulch until the soil is really warm. Okra is super susceptible to root knot nematodes which are microscopic round worms that cause knots and galls to develop on the roots.
If this is a problem for you, you may want to grow something else in that garden space.
Black-eyed peas should be planted in the next few days. Black-eyed peas, green beans and okra all do poorly if planted too early in the spring, but right now would still be a good time to plant.
Add a few inches of organic matter and a little pre-plant fertilizer.
Plant seeds 1 1/2 inches deep. Seeds should germinate within 10 days.
Thin plants when they are 3-4 inches tall so they are about 6 inches apart in the row. Mulching is not as critical with black-eyed peas but it will help conserve soil moisture and keep weeds down.
Summer and winter squash can be planted as late as May 25.
Squash needs similar soil preparation as discussed with the other vegetables. Plant bush-type squash 3-4 feet apart in the row and make rows 3-6 feet apart.
Vining types need much more room. Plant 5-6 seeds per hill and push seed to a 1 inch depth.
Keep soils moist to prevent wilting and keep the soils mulched with at least 4 inches of mulch.
When the first bloom appears, place about 2 tablespoons of fertilizer out in the dripline of the plant and follow with a watering.
For all of these vegetables, a 4-inch layer of mulch should be applied once they are strong and vigorous, but still at a youthful size.
This will keep the soil cooler and moister, keep weeds to a minimum and will provide many other benefits. Many types of mulch will do; cottonseed hulls, compost, straw, shredded wood chips and even grass clippings.
If you use grass clippings lay them out in thin sheets in the garden so they can cure out before applying the next layer.
A drip line or soaker hose laid down before the mulch goes down is very helpful for watering vegetables.
Now almost all of these vegetables can also be planted in a fall garden, so don’t rule them out if you don’t get them planted in the summer garden. Most of these can be planted in August for a fall crop.
Warm up for Farmers’ Market
Farmers’ Market will kick off on July 12 at Wailes Park on Route 66 at Date Street. Opening day will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Normally, times after that will be Tuesdays and Saturdays beginning at 5 p.m. For more information or a complete set of guidelines to participate contact the Extension office at 461 0562.
Tom Dominguez is an agent with the Quay County Extension, NMSU Extension Service. He can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 461-0562.
There’s still have time to put in your vegetable garden!
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