Gardening in Aroostook: Planting

I heard yesterday that some people in Aroostook have had to replant their vegetable seeds, following the moderately chilly, cloudy and wet spring that we’ve had. We held off on planting our small raised bed until June 3rd, due primarily to a laziness in accumulating enough soil for the raised bed.

But I feel that we really couldn’t have picked a more perfect time to plant. Now, rows of lettuce and spinach are popping up, radishes are taking off, and peas are shooting healthy-looking tendrils up from the heavy earth.

Granted, I’m pretty lucky this year. The above photos, of plants that have clearly been growing much longer than nine days, were brought to me by my parents last month. These plants were grown from seed, though. There are peppers longer than two inches. Tomatoes with ten flowers each, all about to burst open. The heartiest kale plants in the world. Compact eggplants that look destined for greatness. And all I have to do is water them – so lucky.

My own plants are looking pretty good too. An initial survey of the garden this morning showed that no beans had yet germinated, and yet now, two hours later, at least five are visibly growing. A few species have yet to sprout – carrots, parsnips, cucumbers and some herbs, for example. But I have faith that I’ll be seeing them soon.

From top left, moving clockwise: an apple tree seedling, spinach sprouts, eagerly growing radishes, somewhat struggling Cherokee Purple tomatoes, and a healthy broccoli plant.

Many of these plants were started in flats as early as late March. It was a struggle to balance one growth light between multiple flats of seedlings, all the while combatting a chilly windowsill in the hopes of obtaining natural light. The Brussels sprouts did well initially, but most later died mysteriously, despite looking quite healthy. Enough plants persevered, and many of these were transplanted into larger cups over a month ago.

Now, several of them are ready for the garden. Golden beets and Swiss chard have been planted, along with the broccoli. All of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants from my parents have been transplanted into large pots, which is a smart tactic when working with a small garden plot such as mine. These plants will remain more compact, but will still produce at high rates.

As my veggies grow, I plan to bring you easy summer recipes that can be made with them. But for now, I’m content to water them, and watch them grow slowly but surely. I’m off to take another look at those beans.

What are you growing in your garden this year?