The danger of frost has passed!
The weekend after Memorial Day is a great time to get warm season seed crops and starter plants in the ground. Here are five tips for what to plant now along with planting techniques sure to bring good results.
• It's a bit late for cool season crops - peas, onions, carrots, lettuce. But if you have some seeds, you can still give it a try. Just know that the best results with these crops come when they are planted early in the spring or later in the season in September.
• With the exception of tomatoes and peppers, seeds planted outside will often catch up and produce faster than starter plants. Use seeds to grow this season's melons, squashes, cucumber, beans and pumpkins and plant them now.
• If you did not start your own peppers and tomatoes indoors, they are available from garden centers and are safe to plant now that the danger of frost has passed.
If possible, avoid planting tomatoes in the same location they were planted last year as a new place helps to reduce insect and disease problems.
• Locate tomatoes in sunny areas of the garden and allow about 2 feet between plants. This spacing gives plants room to grow and access to sunshine.
• Plant tomatoes deep by planting some of the stalk in the ground when you plant it.
• Stake plants or use tomato cages to provide stability as the plant grows.
• Wait to apply mulch until the ground warms up and flowering begins.
• After soil has warmed up, add mulch - grass clippings, straw, newspapers - to help hold moisture in the soil.
• Plant edibles among annual flowers and perennials in the yard. As long as they have the same sun and moisture requirements as their neighbors, veggies can easily be incorporated among other landscape plants. Use this strategy if there's no room to create a garden area exclusively for vegetables.
• Edibles are also well suited to containers. If yard space is limited or non-existent, containers on the balcony or porch are the solution.
• Take advantage of "companion plants" to repel unwanted insects and attract beneficial ones.
• Plant herbs such as basil, sage and cat mint.
• Intersperse annual flowers such as marigolds and nasturtium with veggies. Nasturtium not only dress up the garden with their bright blooms, but flowers and leaves are also edible. They add peppery flavor in salads.
• Tomatoes and basil are the best of friends - plant them next to each other for mutual benefit. Later, they will keep working well together in the pasta sauce.
• Drip irrigation is a water-wise option for watering vegetables and herbs because it puts water right at the base of the plant and little water is lost to evaporation.
• Watering at the base of veggies also helps prevent blossom end rot.
Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company based in Silverthorne that is a member. You may contact them at (970) 468-0340.