Southern NH vegetable garden question

sister3June 7, 2006


This is my first post here. I am very new to vegetable gardening. I have 2 good sized raised beds and have only managed to get my three tomato plants and 5 pepper plants in. This rain is killing me! I still haven't planted my cucumber and summer squash plants. I also have pole bean, carrot and pumpkin seeds that need to get in the ground. I am going to give corn a try again this year.

I hope this weekend is not a complete wash out. Any suggestions on planting in very moist soil so late in the season?

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ralgam(z5 NH)

I'm also in southern NH, and I agree with you - I'm SICK of the rain! (Although I'll probably eat my words in July or August when we have a drought!)

Anyway, keep your veggies under lights inside if you can, until you can get them outside. At least put them near a sunny (HA!) window...well a window that would be sunny if we had any. Transplant them into larger pots if it will be very long before you can get them outside. If you can't transplant them and they become root bound, when you take them out of the pots, pull the bottom roots out and make a verticle slice on all four sides before you put them in the ground.

You can plant your pumpkin, bean and corn seeds indoors and transplant them when the soil dries out.

All the books say not to plant in wet soil, but I've been so desperate, that I did it anyway this year, and the plants seem to be okay. I also have raised beds, and this seems to help a bit. When you plant them, make sure not to plant them any lower in the ground than the soil around them so they don't collect more rain than they would otherwise. I guess you could plant them just a wee bit higher and then when the rains stop, add a little bit more soil to level them out.

By the way, I cover my raised beds with black plastic over the winter to keep weeds out and help warm the soil a little sooner. This also prevents the soil from becoming waterlogged when we have our spring monsoon. I don't pull off the plastic until I'm ready to add compost etc. and get those babies into the ground. If I can't plant on the same day I add the compost, I recover the beds until I'm ready to plant.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 5:52PM
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solana(z5a NH)

Welcome Sister3,

We're all in the same boat (if we're lucky, a paddle included.) My 19th year gardening in SW NH, I've never had this much rain to deal with.

Heat-loving cukes, squash, pumpkins (all related in the Cucurbit family) and beans would sulk or rot if sown out under these conditions.

Ditto what Ralgam says: in my experience, the cucurbits & corn can be sown for transplant a couple weeks from now. Use fairly large sized cells (e.g., 2x2") as they grow large quickly and resent, but tolerate, root disturbance. Easier than lights indoors, can you rig a temporary cold-frame outdoors to start them? i.e., a semi-clear-plastic covered box which holds the heat from even weak sun. Just be sure to vent it should we get a freak day of bright sun so the seedlings don't fry.

Beans, pole or bush, need to be seeded straight into ground. I've given up hope for pole beans (take too long), but may yet plant some early-maturing bush beans. Good news: bean seeds keep well. Store 'em dry, cool and you'll get good germination next year.

Great news: carrot seeds love this weather. They germinate cool, need to be consistantly moist. Assuming your raised beds are relatively weed-free (the down side of growing carrots), I suggest you sow them during next break in weather and bless rain which doesn't have you watering the seed bed twice a day.

My tomatoes, peppers & eggplants not yet set out, potted up to quart containers. I've been rethinking what may grow well this year. You don't mention, but consider Swiss chard, beets, onions from sets, broccoli.

You're new to veg gardening in southern NH? My worst problem is woodchucks = groundhogs. They love peas, broccoli, lettuce, beans. Best plan is to not let Chucky learn you've planted a buffet. Short fence worked for me the first couple years. Be prepared for more drastic measures in the future.

Guessing we're all newbies under these conditions. Try it, let us know what works for you this year and we'll learn together.

Above all, enjoy! Ana

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 12:08AM
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