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Summer planting: The main event

Sweet potato slipAlthough I seem to save my obsessing for the tomatoes, I didn't want you to think that's all we put in the garden this week.  Our first round of sweet potato slips were ready to set out early, thanks to the gravel starting flat that tempted shoots to grow roots before I even snipped them from the parent tuber.  And I started peppers inside this year to give us a bit of a head start on the growing season.

Most of our summer crops grow from seed, though.  I put in a second planting of sweet corn, green beans, summer squash, and watermelons since the late April seedlings are already up and thriving, and I would have put in another set of cucumbers if I hadn't run out of seeds.  (More are on the way.)  Peanuts will go in later this week, as will the first round of butternuts.

Then, in two weeks, it'll be time to plant many of these crops all over again.  Succession planting keeps our summer harvest steady for crops like sweet corn that ripen up all at once Pepper seedlingand for troublesome cucurbits (squash, cucumbers) and beans that tend to peter out from pests or disease after a few weeks of bearing.  Midsummer planting is also appropriate for winter squashes that will sit on the shelf through the cold season --- the later the squashes ripen up, the more likely they are to still be good come spring.  So June is the time to plant most of my butternuts as well as the naked seed pumpkins we're trying out this year.

And then, just one month from now, it'll be time to start putting in the fall garden!  I'm glad I keep all of this information in a spreadsheet because I'd never get the planting dates right otherwise.

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock happy while my attention is on the garden.

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