Gardening for Life: Filling up extra room in the garden with zucchini, peppers and more

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By: Jim Carpenter

Jennifer Shephard/Flavor 574.com

All I wanted were two zucchini plants when I went to the garden center about 5 miles down the road from where I live.

Zucchini is very easy to start from seed right out in the garden when the weather warms up, but I had neglected to get any seed earlier, and now I wanted quicker results, so I just decided to buy a few plants.

I hadn’t yet got the truck parked in the lot when I started thinking I could probably use a few red cabbage plants also. Then I thought about how my indoor pepper plant production was so-so this year, and I only ended up with six California Wonder bell pepper starts. So I thought I might pick up four more of those. Of course, I also thought I probably had room for a few more tomatoes, so I picked up four Celebrity tomato plants while I was there.

So instead of just having the original two plants to get into the ground before the predicted rains hit the area, I now had 14 plants that needed a carefully prepared area.

Pepper and tomato plants get a little better care from me than most things in the garden, and I always need more time when I plant them. Maybe it seems like these plants are a little more fragile. Of course with the cost of the garden center plants, you really want to give them the best start possible.

It was mid-afternoon, very warm and partly cloudy. A front was moving into our area later on in the day, and it seemed rain was a certainty. My dilemma was in the fact that I would rather not plant my plants in the heat of the off-and-on again sun. My plan was to keep checking the weather radar and time my planting for when we were starting full overcast. Late afternoon or evening is normally the best time to transplant to avoid the immediate stress of full sun.

It looked like the storm front was close enough that we had seen the last of the day’s sun, so I decided to get the plants in the ground before the predicted three days of rain started. My ground was prepared in general, I just needed to spade up the specific place for each plant.

I made a mound for the zucchini plants, as this seems to work rather well. My garden area has very friable soil as a result of all the organic matter I have added over the last 20 years. Once I have it tilled it up, it is easy to just use my hand or spade to scoop out a place for the plants I am placing in the ground.

The rains made it here, but I had all the plants in the ground and was pleased with my timing. Of course, now I am a bit concerned that the deluge of water from above might be a bit hard on these new plants, but in general, transplants are pretty hardy, and they should weather the storm. There is always something to be concerned with in the garden, but you do what you can and hope for the best.

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