“A Time to Sow, and a Time to Thin…”

Sussex Gardener


This past week, the weather was so nice and warm and I had several telephone calls from residents asking me what vegetables they could now plant in their vegetable gardens. The following will help answer that question in case you are wondering, too. In May, plant direct seeding of string beans, lima beans, carrots, radishes, beets and squash (yellow summer, zucchini, and winter), cucumbers and melons and transplants of tomatoes and peppers (both sweet and hot chilies). You can also plant assorted flowers, both seeds and transplants. And don’t forget your herbs: Plant both seeds and/or transplants.

Another vegetable garden chore that can be done now is thinning. It is done to assorted seeds of beets, carrots, lettuces, turnips and other vegetable seeds that were sowed in March.

I hope you saved the vegetable seed packets to determine how much space between plants. For example, Baby Butter head lettuce seeds should be planted one inch apart. After they are up, thin to one to two inches apart to allow the root to have room to grow. Purple Top White Globe Turnips are sowed about one inch apart and then thinned to four inches apart.

I also want to share a tip for folks who want to grow a tomato plant or two, but don’t have the space or the physical capacity to do a garden. Go to your local garden center and purchase a large bag of garden flower/vegetable medium. Instead of garden soil, look for a blended mixture of part compost, soil, aged manure, peat and other organic material. Once you get your bag home, place it where it will receive seven hours of sunlight. On one side, poke about 15 to 25 holes for drainage, then turn the bag over and cut an “x” in the center. Remember to buy a tomato plant while you’re at the garden center. Plant your tomato in the bag (where you cut the “x”).

Don’t forget to thoroughly water your tomato plant once a week. Fertilize at planting and about every two weeks thereafter with a water soluble fertilizer. I did this for my Mom and placed the bag garden right near her back door. This is a great and easy way to have home-grown tomatoes and other transplants without the burden of a traditional garden.