Garden Therapy Notes

 A Collection of Gardening Information and Inspiration

 
 

  

 

May 8th, 2012   


Planting Vegetable Seeds 

In A Raised Flower Box or A-Frame

A List of 8 Favorite Vegetable Seeds to Plant in May for Therapeutic Purposes

A-Frame Planter Box

You're interested in planting vegetable seeds outside this spring and you need some ideas. We sometimes leave things to the last minute and here we are. You still have lots of time to plant vegetable seeds but get them in by the end of this month. I usually plant seeds a little later in the month when it is warmer and residents can come out and join me. 

Remember: prepare the soil before planting. Raised flower boxes or A-frames are not like ground flower beds. They need  soil that is light with good drainage. This means staying away from heavy soil mixes with top soil, loam, black earth. A triple mix usually contains peat, loam and compost. This can work but I would add more peat moss to lighten the soil and make it easier for root development. An outdoor container mix would work well too. They usually have loam, compost and higher amounts of peat moss. If you already have soil in the flower boxes then turn the soil really well with spade or trowel. I find that sediments will settle to the bottom over time decreasing overall drainage. The soil level will also shrink over time so add a few inches of fresh container soil every year. Don't forget to mix in an all natural fertilizer to help supplement the plants. 

Here are a few vegetable seeds that I recommend you plant through out this month:

  1. Lettuce - Plant early/mid/late May in sun or partial shade. Create a shallow trench 1 cm deep using your trowel or stick. To make a straight line use a piece of string attached to both ends of the growing space. Lightly sprinkle the lettuce seeds along the trench and gently push the soil over the seeds. Pat the soil to help keep the seeds in place and water. Look for sprouts the following week. You should be able harvest within 3-5 weeks. Keep soil moist for crisp and firm leaves. Lettuce is great to feed pets if you have any. There is a rabbit at the one Nursing Home I work at and residents will independently harvest the lettuce for the bunny. You can replant lettuce seeds after the first batch is finished. If space is limited remove the finished lettuce plants and replant seeds in the same place. Or, plant seeds in between rows of maturing lettuce plants for successive small crops. 
  2. Carrots - Plant in deep flower boxes with at least ten to twelve inches of soil depth. Plant in mid/late May in sun or partial shade. Create a shallow trench 1 cm deep using your trowel or stick. To make a straight line use a piece of string attached to both ends of the growing space. Lightly sprinkle the carrot seeds along the trench and gently push the soil over the seeds. Pat the soil to help keep the seeds in place and water. It may take a couple weeks before you see sprouts. It is important to thin out the seedlings for optimal size. Carrots will need a longer time to harvest. It may take up to 2 months before they are ready to be picked...be patient. This is another vegetable that can be harvested for pets. 
  3. Radish - Plant early/mid/late may in sun or partial shade. Create a shallow trench 1 cm deep using your trowel or stick. To make a straight line use a piece of string attached to both ends of the growing space. Lightly sprinkle the radish seeds along the trench and gently push the soil over the seeds. Pat the soil to help keep the seeds in place and water. Look for sprouts the next week. This is a very fast growing plant and can be harvested within 3-5 weeks. This is the easiest vegetable to grow with any population. 
  4. Beets - Plant in deep flower boxes with at least six to twelve inches of soil depth. Plant mid/late May in sun or partial shade. Create a shallow trench 1 cm deep using your trowel or stick. To make a straight line use a piece of string attached to both ends of the growing space. These seeds are larger and easier to handle. Plant seeds a few inches apart and gently push the soil over the seeds. Pat the soil to help keep the seeds in place and water. It may take a couple weeks before you see any sprouts. Thin the sprouts to three inches apart for optimal size. It may take over 2 months before they are ready to be picked depending on how large you want the beet to be. Some people prefer small-medium size and some people prefer larger beets. I enjoy this vegetable for the esthetics in the garden. The leaves are a rich deep purple/red colour. The leaves are also edible. Try steaming the leaves like you would with spinach. 
  5. Bush Beans - Plant mid/late May in sun or partial shade. These seeds are larger making it easier to handle and plant.  Create a shallow trench 1 cm deep using your trowel or stick. To make a straight line use a piece of string attached to both ends of the growing space. Plant the seeds a few inches apart and one inch deep in the trench. Pat the soil to help keep the seeds in place and water. Thin out the seedlings as they grow so that they are about six inches apart. This plant will be roughly 12 inches wide.  
  6. Pole Beans - Plant mid/late May in sun or partial shade. Insert a lattice structure or obelisk into the raised flower box for the pole beans to climb. These seeds are larger making it easier to handle and plant. Plant the seeds a few inches apart and one inch deep. It will take up two weeks before you see any sprouts. Train the vines to climb the support structure through out the growing season. 
  7. Cabbage - Plant mid/late May in sun or partial shade. This is one of my favorites and very easy to grow. Create a shallow trench one inch deep using your trowel or stick. To make a straight line use a piece of string attached to both ends of the growing space. Plant the seeds a few inches apart in the trench, cover with soil and water. After they sprout thin them to six inches apart so that there is enough space for them to grow.  
  8. Potatoes - Plant in deep flower boxes with at least six to twelve inches of soil depth. Plant late May in sun or partial shade. Most garden centres will sell potato seed but you can also use tubers from the grocery store. I prefer the seed potatoes from the garden centre. If you use grocery store potatoes for planting then keep them in a cool dark place until they develop sprouts. Potatoes can be cut into pieces with two eyes per piece. The "eye" will sprout and grow shoots. Plant six inches deep in the soil about twelve inches apart. The potato plant will grow about 12-24 inches across and 24-30 inches tall. The potato plant will flower and produce green fruits. They are not edible. Dig up the tubers when the plant turns yellow. 

It is important to have a watering  schedule in place to ensure that these vegetables grow  well. Ideally, raised flower beds should be checked daily for water especially during the hotter months. Get staff, volunteers, family and/or residents involved with the care and maintenance.

Happy Growing,

Trina Alix

 

Source: http://www.gardentherapynotes.com

 

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