Preparing for summer

Historic Casey Farm, in Saunderstown, has an annual plant sale every Mother’s Day weekend. For the last few years we’ve purchased most of our heirloom tomatoes, eggplant and peppers there, as well as some annuals.

It is too soon to plant the vegetables (they are upstairs under the grow light). May is deceptive in the garden—so many warm days lure gardeners into getting a jump on the growing season by planting their heat-loving vegetable plants early. But the nights are often cold, and even the days can drop well below temperatures the plants find comfortable. At best, the plants gain no advantage by going in early, since they don’t grow in the colder temperatures. At worst, they get killed off. I also buy tomato plants from the Good Earth, a wonderful organic garden center in the aptly named Hope, RI. I buy early, because their plants get snapped up quickly. The owners—without fail—warn me not to plant them yet.

The annuals did go in the ground this weekend, however, as did some parsley, cilantro, thyme (which after years of vigorous growth mysteriously died this winter) and rosemary. I weeded the flower garden for three hours on Saturday…one of my least favorite things to do. As always, there are some plants that might be weeds but I am in enough doubt to leave them in for now. Everything in the flower garden is growing so fast and strong this year that if I am wrong, I will sorely regret my indecision.

The chickens followed me about, and I had to shoo them away when they started to dig around my tiny transplants. They pluck at the leaves and the buds of the established plants, so far causing no real damage. We may need to ban them from the garden, but so far I hope they are doing more good than harm. (Last week Cherisse had to shoo them from the vegetable garden where they were pulling out pea shoots. We are in big trouble when the strawberries ripen…they love strawberries.)

It’s a beautiful, clear night and the sky is filled with lightening bugs…about a month earlier than usual. Fireflies are a sign of summer to me, and seeing them now truly makes everything seem just a bit off kilter.

Casey Farm

Rooster weathervane
Rooster weathervane

Plant sale

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