A trellis on the back side of the sunbeams takes little room, shades no plants and lettuce planted at the base further utilizes space. (Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News)

A trellis on the back side of the sunbeams takes little room, shades no plants and lettuce planted at the base further utilizes space. (Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News)

A GROWING CONCERN: Going ‘farm to table’ in your own backyard

IT’S NO APRIL Fool’s joke, that now is a perfect time to be gardening … in all aspects of your yard!

And it’s interesting, as we hear stories of animals running around , being out and about with less human traffic around and just Thursday I saw a great blue heron walking across Black Diamond road between two wetlands. Anybody ever see that — a heron walking across the road?

So things are interesting to say the least; but I am here to say the most, so let’s talk about the rest of your yard.

Get after all those weeds and pestilence now! Weeds, along with bugs, slugs and mice will be their own epidemic soon if you do not get after them right now while the infestation is only beginning.

Get on your perennials as well, making sure now to clean up all old foliage and rotting plant material and remove it from the ground. This decaying material will be the demise of these plants soon if you do not clean them up in the next couple weeks.

Mow your grass extremely low, as low as you can go, and then apply fertilizer, lime and grass seed (yes, grass seed).

Do this in early April for a picture perfect lawn this summer, after all you may be spending some extra time out there.

So, I am going to take a phrase that we have been hearing a lot about lately; and modify it.

We are currently experiencing how supply chains get disrupted and it is “carbon-heavy ” to ship material around so:

“Farm to Table” is becoming a better sustainable model.

The freshest, best tasting and perfect quantity for the meal or a garden snack would come right from your very own home! (wouldn’t you think)?

Be it an apartment, condo, home, farm or rented room, we can all grow the freshest vegetables, berries, nuts, fruits and herbs around, and our weather on the Peninsula is perfect for this.

Having made my new “corona garden” last week; this week I settle down into planning and planting said “home farm.”

First and foremost is the concept of the right plant for the right place and at the right time. Let’s start with the right time.

Now is not the correct time for beans, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, eggplant, peppers or basil. Don’t even think about corn or okra.

June would be the perfect time to plant outdoors for all the above listed crops.

In fact, repeat after me: “The 1st of June is none too soon!”

If, and only if, you have a greenhouse or well-lighted area that you can monitor water very closely — do not sow seeds indoors yet. The right plant at the right time.

Perfect items to sow now would be lettuce, radishes, greens, onions, leak, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, carrots, beats, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard.

These are all perfect items to plant now as well.

So consider planting all manner of berries along with rhubarb, chives, parsley, fruit trees, onion starts, potatoes, grapes, oregano, thyme, lavender, horseradish or leak. Do not forget rosemary.

Plants are available now at many vendors and it’s a great way to get a first crop harvested before your seeds sprout and produce — one extra early picking.

As to the right spot, think sun and which way it tracks across your garden.

At the back end of that sunbeam, plant the tall pole items like peas and beans. A trellis mounted at the very rear takes up only a couple inches yet adds 6 to 8 feet of vertical production and considerable square-footage to your “home farm.”

Most importantly, it does not shade out the precious sunlight from the rest of the plants.

Then follow suit, next-tallest plants by the trellis, such as those big tall Brussels sprouts, then work down to the small radishes, bush beans and greens in the very front row receiving the unfettered sunlight.

Finally, water in any plants or bare-root items like crazy. Do so 10 times the first day and 5 times the second day. Yes, 10 then 5, for this will gently collapse the soil around the plants and greatly speed up their growth.

Next week we will talk about germination.

So for now, while you still can, go out and get seeds and vegetable plants along with herbs, berries and fruit trees. Purchase pots, containers and soil for we are going to have a cornucopia this year as we take food from farm to table.


Andrew May is a freelance writer and ornamental horticulturist who dreams of having Clallam and Jefferson counties nationally recognized as “Flower Peninsula USA.” Send him questions c/o Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362, or email news@peninsuladailynews.com (subject line: Andrew May).

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