HELEN LANG: Rain needed as seedlings sprout

We have reached that time of year when you can plant most vegetables.

It is another lovely sunny day again today and now all of us gardeners are fretting that we need some rain to encourage those seedlings that are now showing up.

Incidently, I think you could put in your corn seed any time now. It is extremely unlikely we’ll have any frost again until some time in late September or maybe not until October. I no longer have a car so can’t check the local cornfields for any signs of action.

My Pender Island daughter, Barbara, took me with her shopping today, which I enjoy. I don’t buy a lot, living as I do, on my own, but I see people I know also shopping and I know many of the staff, which gives me a lot of pleasure, as they recognize me too (thank goodness).

Living alone has some advantages.

Give me a moment and I’ll think of at least one!

Nope! I can’t think of any.

Well, there aren’t many dishes to wash, especially if you eat out of the cooking pot (I am kidding) but it’s a possibility if I get desperate, I suppose. I wouldn’t want my eldest daughter to catch me though. She’d have me in a care facility within a week.

You have to be strong and determined to live on your own, otherwise your children will have you in “care.” They have no intention of asking you to share their lives which are busy with their own interests.

Sometimes I am tempted to mention that ’for the first few years of their lives, we adults gave up all our own interests in order to properly look after theirs. I’ll call it payback time and run for the nearest exit.

I am teasing, because when they realize we are still alive, they usually phone at least once a month. Actually, they do better than that (most months). Maybe if I were frail they’d be more anxious, but I have no intention of playing games with them and, thank God, I’m a tough old bird. I just don’t look in the mirror any longer. That’s why my hair looks like a loose bail of straw on a windy day!

Oh well, it pretty much matches the rest of me.

We have reached that time of year when you can plant most vegetables. I’d wait a little longer before moving your tomato seedlings out into their permanent bed outside. Better to be a little late than to put them in and have a hail storm, or a punishingly heavy rain beat them down into the mud. An extra week or two won’t do them any harm, if you’ll just keep them watered, and secure in a semi-shaded spot.

You can safely seed corn and squash outside now. I recommend planting squash in a hilled-up shallow mound where they can be easily watered and cross-pollination is easily managed by either you or insects such as bees. When in doubt, I used to use my soft make-up brush. Sometimes my nose would be yellow when, later, I looked in the mirror … too late to tell the mailman it wasn’t a communicable disease.

Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.

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