In Preparation for May: Notes from the Garden

Today I started preparing the garden for planting. I won’t transfer my indoor plants to the garden for another few weeks, but I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather. If you’re thinking about starting a fruit or vegetable garden, it’s the perfect time to begin your preparations.

First, I weeded my vegetable garden bed and tilled the soil a bit. I think the soil looks rich and healthy. My cat, Louis, watched me the entire time. He stretched out on the railing of my porch and enjoyed the sunshine while I did all the hard work. Cats!

I have plants already growing beautifully indoors, so I can transplant sandwich tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and perhaps up to five basil plants. I’m also growing cilantro and three bush bean plants. This year I want to focus on storing lots of pesto and oven-dried tomatoes in my freezer to use all year. The beans we gobble up every night, usually stir-fried with garlic and sesame oil.

Then, I fed my plum tree some organic food (I use Berry-Tone–good for fruit trees and berry bushes). You want to put your fertilizer at the “drip line”–the outermost circumference of your tree. Early spring is a great time to feed a plum tree, so I’m happy to finish this task. You can purchase fruit trees now and plant them in your garden. My neighbor just planted two pear trees!

Then, I installed my solar-powered bird bath, and I already have bird customers swimming in my bird bath! They love to splash around.

My last chore involved arranging my patio pots, filling them with fresh soil from my compost pile, and deciding which plants I’ll fill them with this year. I will plant two ground cherries (because one wasn’t enough–I love ground cherries!). The third big pot will hold another miniature plum tree that I’ll prune down. I grew two more plum tree saplings, and I don’t have the heart to not keep them both!

Next weekend, I’ll feed my blackberries and raspberries, plant and feed my plum saplings, and move my indoor plants outside to “harden” them before planting them. I’m a few weeks early by Pennsylvania standards, but if we get a cold night, I can cover my plants with frost protectors.

And that’s a Saturday in April in preparation for May planting. If you’re interested in my checklist for my fruit and vegetable garden, here is the total inventory of my entire backyard:

  1. Cilantro
  2. Chives
  3. Dill
  4. 2 beefsteak tomato
  5. 2 sweet cherry tomato
  6. 3 bush bean
  7. 2-5 basil
  8. 2 ground cherry
  9. 3 plum trees
  10. blackberry (several canes along the side fence)
  11. raspberries (a patch that yields a bowl full every day)

There you go! Each year, you can revise your list based on the food you enjoy to eat. If you find that you have way too much squash or cucumbers (like I always do), maybe skip those. My Serrano peppers produced so many peppers that I still have a bag of chopped peppers in the freezer, so I’m skipping those this year as well. Next year, I might focus on more herbs, but this year it’s the year of the plums and tomatoes for sure!

And don’t worry–I promise to remember to take pictures once I plant all my seedlings!

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