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MONTANA WEATHER HAS MADE APRIL-MAY GARDENING A TOUGH PROJECT

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May 10, 2009

Montana weather has made April-May gardening a tough project

 

Jim Gainan For The Gazette | Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2009 12:00 am |

This weather has really made starting a vegetable garden tricky. I planted onions and potatoes two weeks ago and took a chance with some tender seeds. That may have been a mistake. Our cucumbers are planted but, protected under little white "hot caps". While going through all of this trouble I had to pause and think, "Why am I rushing this?" The answer probably goes deeper than the Billings Gazette has space to offer so, I'll give you the short version.

I'm thinking back to my Grandpa Mysse and his garden, which was his pride and joy. I can still imagine the impeccable rows of beets and 1st crop of carrots; the tomatoes with a short dirt dam pressed around each plant to contain water and of course the hills and hills of cucumbers.

The garden was bordered by an enormous Iris bed which was painstakingly 'thinned and divided' each year. I remember watching him water his masterpiece early each evening thinking "Man… this is taking forever. Why don't you just put a sprinkler in the middle?" He explained there were a couple of reasons: 1) that would waste water 2) it would allow weeds to grow. In fact, his garden looked like the Sahara desert, dried and cracked except the immediate soil areas surrounding each plant which were moist and black from compost.

This year, I'm trying my first garden complete with a "worm garden" for the kids bordered with river rock. They've been given explicit instructions that they can only "dig" inside the rock border, in the worm garden. We'll see. I have a sprinkler set right in the middle so I'm sure there will be some weeding in my future. We planted a couple extra rows that we are growing just for the food bank. Nationally, there is a shortage of fresh vegetables given to food banks because they don't last as long as canned goods but, I'm sure the carrots and beans we planted will find their way to just the right family who will enjoy them.

I've included this chart to help you plan your garden.

Jim Gainan is VP/Shareholder of Gainan's Flower and Garden Center in Billings. Questions or comments? Email Jim Gainan @ jim@gainans.com.

 

 

Plant

Description

Germination

Spacing  Row/Plant

Days To Maturity

 

Beans - Burpee Tenderpod (Bush)

stays tender and stringless even when mature, pods are 4-5" long

7-14 days

18-30 in/3 in

50

 

Beans - Early Contender (Bush)

bears 6-8 inch stringless pods, disease tolerant

6-10 days

2-3 ft/3 in

49

 

Beans - Kentucky Blue (Pole)

for optimum flavor, harvest beans at 6-7 inches, disease resistant

6-8 days

3 ft/8 in

60

 

Beans - Kentucky Wonder (Pole)

productive with fleshy, medium green pods, tender, best when 6" long, rust resistant

6-8 days

3 ft/8 in

66

 

Beans - Stringless Blue Lake (Pole)

tender stringless pods 5-5 1/2" long, mild flavor

6-8 days

3 ft/4 in

62

 

Beet - Detroit Dark Red

all-purpose variety, deep crimson, globe-shaped, tender and fine grained

10-12 days

18 in/3 in

58

 

Beet - Ruby Queet

bright scarlet color, sweet buttery texture, early variety

10-12 days

18 in/3 in

55

 

Broccoli - De Cicco

uniform, very productive variety, large heads and side shoots

10-14 days

3 ft/ 2 ft

90

 

Broccoli - Waltham 29

dependable, large blue-green heads 6-8 inches across, produces until frost

10-15 days

3 ft/1.5 ft

85

 

Brussel Sprouts - Catskill

cabbage-like flavor, tender heads 1-2 inches across on stong stalks

7-14 days

3 ft/2 ft

90

 

Cantaloupe - Hale's Best Jumbo

muskmelon flavor, salmon-orange flesh, large deeply ribbed fruit

5-10 days

4 ft/12-18 in

86

 

Cantaloupe - Sweet & Early Hybrid

sweet and juicy, firm salmon-orange flesh, ideal for short-season gardeners, disease resistant

5-10 days

4 ft/2 ft

75

 

Carrot - Chantenay Red Cored

good in heavy, poor soils, short, thick carrots, crunchy and sweet

14-25 days

1 ft/2 in

68

 

Carrot - Danvers 126

crisp, sweet, smooth and tapered root

14-25 days

1 ft/2 in

73

 

Carrot - Scarlet Nantes

dependable, sweet, crisp, bright orange

14-25 days

1 ft/2 in

68

 

Carrot - Tendersweet

sweet, tender, 9-10" tapered roots

14-25 days

1 ft/2 in

70

 

Cauliflower - Snowball X

medium-sized, pure-white heads, mild flavor

10-15 days

2.5 ft/1.5 ft

70

 

Collards - Vates

early, vigorous plants, resist bolting

10-15 days

3 ft/1.5 ft

75

 

Corn, Sweet - Jubilee Hybrid

most popular sweet corn in the world today

7-10 days

3 ft/20 in

81

 

Corn, Sweet - Kandy Korn Hybrid

butter-yellow, sweet flavor; high-sugar variety

7-10 days

3 ft/20 in

89

 

Cucumber - Garden Sweet Hybrid

crisp, sweet flavor, dark green 10" fruit on vigorous vines

8-10 days

4 ft/1 ft

60

 

Cucumber - Muncher

high yield, disease resistance, glossy dark green fruit

8-10 days

6 ft/1 ft

65

 

Cucumber - National Pickling

 
Gainan's Flowers https://www.gainans.com/images/siteSettingWide/facebook-logo-18040614025.png 17th St West & Grand Avenue Billings, MT 59102 866-445-7390 406-245-6436

LOCATIONS Gainan's Midtown Flowers: 17th St West & Grand Ave Billings, MT 59102 406-245-6434 Gainan's Heights Flowers & Garden: 810 Bench Blvd Billings, MT 59105 406.248.5029

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