Memorial Day weekend is here which indicates to a lot of people the start of summer. All over the United States, this weekend millions of people are breaking out the barbecue and grilling for the first time this season. We grill 12 month out of the year, so I never quite understood this behavior, but some people equate grilling with summer and that's that. Other people are out on their boats this weekend for the first time this season, some are out on the golf course or tennis courts, while still others are in their gardens.
Depending upon what zone you live in dictates the things you can do in your gardens at what time, from cleaning up to seeding, planting and harvesting. But spring can be a harsh season with its lingering cold and often soggy conditions. If you already have a garden you know that sometimes the spring can make it tough to get things started, particularly if you had a lingering winter as we did in zone 5 this year. Seeds are very particular as to the conditions they need in order to germinate and grow, so you need to make sure things are just right.
One thing you can do almost anytime of the year is install a new raised garden bed. Most people only think about gardening in the spring, particularly if they are thinking about starting a new garden bed and then when they get busy they think they missed a window for planting and say - oh, I'll do it next spring. But there are plenty of crops that you can start in the summer and fall, so you don't have to wait until next year. If your plan is more about using the garden bed for flowers then there really is no reason to delay installation.
Many vegetable gardeners use a method of planting called succession planting. Succession planting is when you seed or plant something in the place of a crop you have recently harvested. For instance, many early season crops are done and harvested by the end of June or July, leaving an empty space where weeds could invade so instead it's best to fill the space with a plant or flower you would prefer to enjoy. We recommend seeding vegetables such as arugula, beans, beets, radishes, carrots, squash and lettuce. It's true there are certain vegetables that don't do well in the hot summer heat. But if you are just starting a garden in June or July and seed the new garden those vegetables won't be ready until August and September, a fall harvest of delicious goodness. Garlic needs to be seeded in the fall around October, plus there are plenty of other overwintering vegetables that can be seeded if you care to do so.
I prefer not to rush the seasons away. Memorial Day is part of spring as the official start of summer doesn't happen until June 21st which is still 27 days away. Instead I prefer to look at if for what it really is, a chance for all of us to remember and honor the people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Life is too short for some people, which is why I think it is even more important for us to be in the present and cherish the moments we have on this earth. The soldiers who died so that we may continue forward will never know the debt of gratitude we owe them and how thankful we are for their service.