Time to Kick Off the Main Gardening Season

Besides being a major holiday, Mother’s Day here in the Willamette Valley has another significance:  it marks the real beginning of the main vegetable gardening season.  Though our technical last frost date isn’t until the 15th of May, a look ahead at forecast shows no real threat of temperatures back down into the 30’s; and despite the return of some cooler and wetter weather my soil thermometer showed 58 and 59 degrees on my morning checks – warm enough to germinate all but the most sensitive crops.

Now (at last) it is finally time to go ahead and plant tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers and beans, without resorting to protective devices.  With the dreary winter and the long wet spring, it feels strangely late to be starting, but a look at my notes from the last few years shows that this is about the average planting time for my warm season garden – in fact earlier than some years.  There’s a glimmer of hope for some sunny days mid-week – but there’s also nothing wrong with dodging a few showers to get out and plant.

~Darren Morgan