Growing up in central Indiana, I ate tomatoes like apples in the summer, so imagine my shame in my inability to grow tomatoes. Until now, I hope.
The raised vegetable bed we put in six weeks ago is starting to show signs that we soon might have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash and cucumbers. The carrots planted by seed are coming up, about an inch now, and the radishes, also planted by seed, stand 2-3 inches tall.
Some of the plants show signs of being chewed on, but not so much that I'm resorting to pesticides. If I can keep away those giant grasshoppers that foraged in my flower beds last year, the vegetable garden should be fine.
I planted the radish seeds in a circle around the squash, and around the cucumbere. We learned in our Master Gardener class that this will help keep the squash vine borers away.
Like the good little gardener wannabe that I am, I am waiting to mulch the vegetable bed until the temperature rises, to allow the soil to heat up.
With the rain (loud knocking on wood), I've had to water only once or twice. A raised bed needs more frequent watering than an in-ground bed, but so far the plants are doing just fine.
THAT BRINGS ME to another subject: Anyone who leaves his automatic sprinkler system running when it is raining should go immediately to the nearest corner and hang his head in shame.
I know you're out there. A couple of you live along the route of my slow-shuffling jog.
As one who regularly breaks mechanical things with a single glance, I can understand the hesitation in repeatedly reprogramming your sprinkler, but there is a simple device, a rain sensor, you can add that will cut off the water during rain showers.
We learned in class that some states require a rain sensor for every sprinkler system.
ANOTHER THING, while the soapbox is already out: Just because you can water three times a week doesn't mean you should. With the exception of newly planted lawns and some fussy recently installed plants, an inch of water each week is plenty.
Buy a rain gauge. Also, you need to know how long you need to run your sprinkler system to get that inch. Set out same-size containers, such as empty tuna cans, around the yard and time how long it takes to get an inch of water in them.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOIN THE GARDENING conversation at the Garden Gnome at blogs.augusta.com.
IN THE GARDEN
CSRA HYDRANGEA SOCIETY GARDEN TOUR: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; see Web site for addresses of gardens; free to members; public invited to join by paying annual $10 membership; www.csrahydrangeasociety.org; Pam Glogowski (803) 642-5226; Linda Phillips (803) 649-2569
GARDEN SERIES: The Columbia County Extension Service Gardening at Lunch series continues at 12:10 p.m. June 3, Columbia County Library; program on gardening for kids; call extension agent Charles Phillips at (706) 868-3413