April 16, 2012 — Catawba River District Voices

April 15 means more than tax day to gardeners here in the Piedmont of North Carolina.  The more positive meaning to that date is:  planting time in your garden!!  It’s the last day of possible frost in this area – actually it’s a 90% frost-free prediction. There have been a few years when a cold snap showed up again, but for the most part the weather will remain above freezing.

So now the big planting time begins. You might have planted an early spring crop of lettuce, spinach, broccoli and cabbage. Here’s a shot of one of our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) gardens.

Everything came up nicely and we’ve been picking lettuce like crazy. Hopefully we’ll have these vegetables on our table for another month or so before the plants get tired of the hot weather and start to go to seed.

In the meantime, we’ve been planting our vegetables that will be harvested all summer.  Here’s a partial list of what you can plant now. I’ve noted (P) for plants or (S) for sowing seeds directly into the soil.

  • Tomatoes (P) – Regular, Roma, Grape and Cherry
  • Peppers (P) – Green, Jalapeno, Chili
  • Eggplant (P)
  • Cucumbers (s) – Straight, Pickling
  • Squash (s) – Yellow Crookneck or Straight, Zucchini
  • Watermelon (s)
  • Cantaloupe (s)

There are lots of varieties of all these plants and seeds. One of my favorite activities is roaming around a local garden store checking out their offerings. Instead of a large “box” store, go to your locally owned stores.  They often have unusual varieties which have a story behind them.  The owners also have lots of wisdom concerning growing vegetables in the Carolinas.  That is worth its weight in gold.

Another option is going to plant sales at local farmers markets. A recent blog with Catawba River Views talked about the Belmont Farmers Market. Farmers often have some seedlings ready for purchase.

One last place worth mentioning is the UNCC plant sale happening this week 8 am – 3 pm, April 20 and 21.  The location is UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, 9090 Craver Rd, Charlotte.

Until next time … Happy Gardening!

About Jeffie and Chris Hardin – The Hardins left suburban life in 2001 for an 8-acre farm near Mountain Island Lake. Now the Hardins and their children seek to grow half of their family’s food and help others grow food, too.