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What should I plant this month?

Is Summer Here? Maybe not quite yet, as the daily rains have not started. As the Bible says, “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.”

Patience??? One version of the Bible says “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” We are waiting for the squash plants to produce, but the impatient bugs eating the leaves are helping themselves! What would you like to plant? Join us with a whole bed or one plant! We’re starting to have bush beans, purple and green. The onions, spinach v.2, rosemary, Cuban oregano, thyme, mint, and mini-tomatoes are ready for you. Come take a sample home – and while you are there, be sure to pause, sit, and see what butterflies you see. The monarchs are there due to the milkweed, but there are skippers, swallowtails, buckeyes, and others from time to time, to lift your spirits.

If you know how good compost is for your lawn, garden, or flowers, you know that 3/4 of a cubic foot costs over $5. So when our compost bin is full soon and ready to “sit and cook”, the 11 cubic ft of finished compost will save us quite a bit of $$ when we use it to replenish our garden beds. Thank you to everyone who has added their fruit & potato peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, stale or moldy bread, limp lettuce, crushed egg shells, & carrot tops. (And to answer your question, yes, you can put a wet paper towel or napkin in, as long as it is wet with water, fruit or veg juice and not bacon grease!) For more info: who donated our compost bins.

Volunteers needed for July and a week in August to check the garden, pull some weeds, and take home the bounty of tomatoes before the birds get them. Call Susan Keal 941-925-8253 with questions, to claim a raised bed, or to volunteer.

Companion Planting – yes it could be “gardening with a friend”! But usually, the term means emulating nature, which is diverse, growing lots of things in the same neighborhood. A forest or meadow rarely has only one or two things growing there. The plants that develop together there work in harmony. You can create a garden and aim for diversity, polycropping, intermixing different plants to make it much harder for pests to find their favorite plants to dine on. If they find one plant to munch on, with no more next to it, the pest has to go on a hunt for its next bite (and maybe be eaten by a predator in the process). The same is true for some pathogens in the soil that happen to prefer just one type of plant.

So if you want to “come plant with us”, you might want to consider interplanting flowers, herbs, and perennials among your veggies. Here are some examples that grow well together, according to Brian Lowell of Next Level Gardening.

For summer, try cucurbits: cucumbers, melons, radishes, and squash with cosmos, dill, and nasturtiums.
Another combination is nightshades: eggplant, peppers, & tomatoes with basil, radishes, spearmint in a pot (it can be invasive) and sweet alyssum.
If you plan to grow squash and melons, you can try planting blue hubbard squash as a “trap crop” and planting dill, carrots, parsley & radishes as beneficial companions ahead of time.

Thinking of waiting until fall to plant veggies? Grow yarrow, marigolds, thyme, or lavender now. Pests don’t like the smell, but beneficial insects and butterflies love it!

The local libraries have LOTS of books on gardening, so check to see what interests you and come join us! Visitors who want to just sit and chat and enjoy the breeze and butterflies are welcome, too!

Here are some useful links when planning your garden:

  • Photo of Garden

  • Composting bins – how to use them, what can be put in them, getting compost for my garden

Here is a useful link about composting:

  • Butterfly garden information

What’s that Bug?    or

  • Here are some links to help you plan your garden:

Vegetable Planting Guide
Building a Butterfly Garden
Native Plants Chart

Can You Name Each Plant Below?