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Planting Organic Vegetables in May


I realize that our blogs often start out with the statement "Its a crazy, busy month" and I will start off this blog with the same words. Its a crazy, busy month. May is especially busy because we start going to market, as well as all our warm weather vegetables are needing to be put out on to the land. Here is a list of all the plants that are going out.

Beans: Yes, planting hundreds and hundreds of beans. We will have all varieties, from bush, pole, and drying. We generally start ours from transplants and then put them into the ground after they have germinated. This helps our watering. It is much easier for us to water trays than to water a full bed.

Squash: We have planted so many varieties of squash this year. Although we still have started the favourites, like butternut and acorn, we have diversified to types like festival, kombocha, spaghetti, delicata, and many others that I am forgetting to mention.
It will be a great harvest when we can try all the flavours of these beautiful winter keepers.

Tomatoes: They are flowering! Tomatoes are the best. They are somewhat challenging in their needs, but they are well worth the effort. We will be putting them in the ground in our greenhouse this week. I love to brush up against the leaves and smell them.

Cucumber: The cucumbers are coming up nicely and will also be in the greenhouse with the lovely friend tomato. They like plenty of compost under their roots and vining varieties need to be trellised up. We do this by hanging strings from the rafters in our greenhouse and letting the cucumbers climb up.

Eggplant: This will be the first year we have grown eggplant. We have a lot of plants and they will be going into the greenhouse as well. They need plenty of compost and steady amounts of water. I don't think I have ever eaten a local eggplant, so it will be just lovely to roast up that beautiful purple beast of a vegetable.

Peppers: Ruby Reds going into the ground soon. We will be hoop housing them out in the field. They will have drip irrigation as they also like to have consistent watering. And you can bet your bottom dollars, we will circling around them every now and then to sing them a song. Lets hope they grow well!

Melons: Oh boy! We also are going to be growing these for the first time, as well. A song for them too! They will be out in the field by June. We haven't decided yet if they will be hoop housed for the first month of June. They do need a lot of heat to grow and produce fruit. Our land should be perfect for these babies.

Tomatoes and Soil Preparation

flowers-in-spring-on-the-farmDuring the last week of March and into April, it has been incredibly warm on the farm. We have been prepping beds like crazy and transplanting them as soon as they are ready. We make the beds so sweet for the baby plants to be tucked into. For every bed, we hand flip the soil, taking care not to till or over work it. We then put at least two loads of well aged manure, and one load of hot compost and mix it all up together. We lime the beds once a year due to our soil being acidic. Right now all our asian greens, salad mix, kale, arugula, broccoli's are going out to field.
organic tomato plant seedling grown in Nanaimo's best organic farm
Speaking of transplants, we have been tending to our tomato plants! Tending the young seedlings can be a difficult tasks as they can be quite finicky. However, by starting our own, we are guaranteed a stronger plant that is not spindly from being over fertilized. Tomato plants need around 20 degrees to germinate well, so we have ours in the green house on a heating table. We have quite a few varieties, from heirloom to newer breeds. The newer breeds of tomato are not GMO. It simply means certain types of tomato have been cross pollinated with other types of tomato to make a new strain. Nature does this all the time and it is a very natural process. Heirloom seeds are from plants that have been kept strictly in areas where it is not possible for cross pollination.

So, tomatoes can be tricky, mostly because they need to get off to a good start, and have regular watering. The water must be kept off the leaves or it can cause early blight, a mould problem that can stress, and even kill the plant. To keep our tomatoes healthy we give them some local seaweed fertilizer weekly. When it is time to plant them in the ground, we plant them deep, so deep that their bottom leaves are covered under dirt. This helps the stem become firm and strong, as the roots will come out of the stem to whatever depth it is planted. Under each tomato plant, it is a good idea to put some lime, as well as a good helping of compost. Lime helps stop blossom end rot, a disease that forms at the tip of the fruiting tomato, and compost helps to feed the hungry plants.

Our tomatoes have a ways to go before being planted in the ground, but it is such a beautiful time of year, when we get to start the seed, knowing that the fruit of our labour will be sweet, delicious, juicy tomatoes. Just like nature intended!