Gardeners face decisions as Memorial Day nears

posted May 21, 2018 8:34 a.m. (CDT)
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by / Bev Carney | Gardening Columnist

Memorial Day will be here soon. Originally called Decoration Day, this day was set aside to honor the fallen soldiers from the Civil War. Since that time, the meaning of the day has been expanded to include all of those lost to war and indeed, to honor all of those loved ones we have lost.

Shakespeare coined the phrase “rosemary for remembrance.” Perhaps this Memorial Day, you could plant some rosemary in your garden or at a gravesite. An elegant and attractive plant, it can also be used in the kitchen. For information on how to grow rosemary, see https://​tinyurl.com/​y6v5gsna.

One of the hardest decisions we have to make is how many vegetables we should plant. Whether planting seeds or seedlings, these tiny specimens will grow to vastly larger sizes and produce unknown quantities of food. Before deciding on quantities, ask yourself why you are growing each individual variety.

Will you be canning tomatoes or beans? If so, you will want to plant more of one variety which will mature at the same time, thus creating enough produce to make a canning session worthwhile. The same goes for cucumbers. How many jars of pickles will your family really eat? Give yourself permission to quit harvesting when you have had your fill. Donate the produce or turn the harvest over to friends. In contrast, if you simply want fresh beans for an extended period of time, either opt for pole beans or plant a succession of short rows of bush beans for a continual harvest. Plant just a few tomatoes for season-long eating.

If planting is your passion and you tend to plant too much of everything (I plead guilty to that!), remember that not only will you have to spend more time weeding, watering and harvesting these plants all summer long, but the produce will have to be processed or packaged and given away. After years of spending hours on end in the kitchen all summer, I have cut back so I can spend more time outside in our all-too-brief summers. Somehow, as I get older, my days seem shorter. How about you? Don’t let your garden turn from a joy to a burden.

In the flower bed, the decision about how much to plant is much easier as the plants take far less work and once harvested, require no further investment of your time. However, with limited space, deciding which flowers to plant is the challenge. Again, ask yourself why you are growing flowers.

Do you want vases full of flowers in your home all season long? Look to flowers listed as ideal for a cutting garden. Are you interested in drying flowers for making wreaths or for winter bouquets? Then choose everlasting types. If you want to attract bees, butterflies and birds, consider planting for habitat. For information on that, see ​http://www.nwf.org/​Garden-for-Wildlife/​Create.

Can I transplant raspberry bushes now? The best time to move is very early spring just as they are beginning to show some life, but we can’t always do things at the best time. This year, spring is so late that who knows what the best timing is. When transplanting, you always run the risk of losing the plants, but this cool, wet spring might be an ideal time to transplant.

Raspberries are very hard to kill. See this site for some illustrated instructions on how to transplant them: https://​empressofdirt.net/​transplant-raspberries. Remember to do your absolute best to create a weed-free bed for the transplants.

Beverly Carney can be reached at cultivatingcountry@gmail.com.






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