When it comes to perennials, the greedier and more impulsive I am, the better-looking my garden gets. In the vegetable garden, however, it pays to be patient.
In Zone 4, this means waiting out some really warm spring days before even thinking of planting tomatoes and beans. "Memorial Day," my sage friend Gerald told me when I first moved to Washington County 15 years ago.
I scoffed. "It’s been warm for weeks," I said.
"Memorial Day," he reiterated. "That’s when the farmers plant. And we can still get a frost Memorial Day weekend."
For some vegetables, even Memorial Day weekend may be too early. Last year, I planted waves of squash and melon seedlings into mid-June, as all the early ones died of misery in the too-cold ground.
It’s been cold this week, so the curcubits can wait. The big jobs for me this weekend, recovery from Lyme flu permitting, are to mulch the main paths in the vegetable garden with pine bark before weeds explode in them and go to Clearbrook Farm in Shaftsbury, VT to buy seedlings.
That’s a really pleasant job, because they also have an amazing selection of interesting perennials, huge plants at just $7 a pop. And in that section of the nursery, it doesn’t pay to be restrained.