It’s been gardening on the run for me, this year. Too many garden shows on weekends. I’m late on getting almost everything into the ground. I’m not giving up, however. While you can’t say it’s never too late when it comes to gardening, you certainly can push things well beyond normal guidelines and often get away with it.
When I was growing up in Warren, Michigan, an elderly widow named Rose Martin, who lived in Detroit, gardened a quarter acre lot behind my house. She would take the bus in the early morning from her house to Detroit’s famous Eight Mile Road (the dividing line between the city and the suburbs), and walk the last mile and a half to her property at 9 1/2 mile and Ryan Road. Sometimes one of her sons would give her a ride, but she took the bus more often than not. She worked her garden almost every day. She would haul water from our house and she would wash up at our house at the end of the day before heading back to Detroit.
She would not get started on her garden until around Memorial Day and she would take until the fourth of July to get her planting done. She had a huge productive garden, and she fed herself and her married sons’ families as well as quite a few neighborhood kids who filched tomatoes and cucumbers and other fresh vegetables from her unfenced lot. My brothers and I were not among the guilty kids, as we always had a pretty good garden of our own and we respected Mrs. Martin.
Mrs. Martin often told us that she could plant everything on the fourth of July and still have a decent garden, and she proved it year after year. I hope I’m ahead of that schedule this year but I still don’t have my corn in, nor my beans or potatoes, or lots of other stuff. But I’ve been late with all of those before and still had a good harvest.
I was over a month late on peas. I like to get them in mid-April, but it was May 23rd before they got seeded this year. If it doesn’t get too hot, I’ll be okay. Last year I changed my trellising system to what you see in the picture. I have 18 rows of peas going across the bed. I’ve got six varieties of peas, three rows of each. I have 9 rows of T-posts 26 inches apart. Today I strung up 24 inch fencing between the posts. It works extremely well. It’s easy to reach in to pick the peas, and the fencing offers plenty of grabbing surface for the pea tendrils. Most importantly, it’s very windproof.
This year I’ve laid down rows of greens between the pea rows. The plan is to get some lettuce and other greens and have the peas keep them somewhat shaded. Everything is looking good right now and I’m pretty sure I can count on some good salads well before the Fourth.