HELEN LANG: Planting time is here for corn, beans

May is the right time to put seeds in the soil for some types of vegetables

Here we are, the beginning of the lovely month of May. The weather is milder, the heavy rains are over (I hope) and we can look forward to warmer days and milder nights – perfect growing conditions.

If you are a vegetable gardener, it is now safe to plant corn and beans, but I’d wait a while before planting tomato plants outside. You could seed all the squashes outside now. If you are buying started squash plants I’d wait a week longer to make sure it is staying warm enough for these heat lovers. Something that helps is to put tomato, squash and cucumber seedlings outside during the day and to bring them back inside for nights. In a couple of weeks they can be planted outside for the summer. What a happy thought.

No more lying in bed, almost asleep and jolting awake, suddenly remembering those dear little seedlings sitting in the great outdoors, shivering. A gardener’s life is a busy one, especially in the spring.

I have tried to buy Romano pole bean seeds, but have been told that there had been a crop failure and there was no such seed available (I was trying to buy West Coast seed, but other suppliers may have Romano seeds). Meanwhile I have ended up with scarlet runners (which if picked before they are fully mature are delectable when cooked). Tomorrow, if it is sunny on the balcony, I’ll put the seed to soak overnight and plant them the day after. Because space is limited they are going to have to share a large pot with the carrots. The beans will go toward the back of the pot with the carrots in front, with the whole thing against the south-facing wall. There is a window there, with the hoya inside, but the latter is just going to have to accept the diminished light, in the interests of my organic food supply.

Pene H. has emailed me an article about honey bees which is absolutely terrifying. These small creatures pollinate, I believe, 90 per cent of our food supply and they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Pesticides are believed to be the culprits. Buying our foodstuffs locally from farmers who don’t use chemicals holds immense appeal. And long live the bee keepers.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 25 years.

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