Weather can always be a bit of a challenge when it comes to gardening. Wisconsin weather has been too cold, too wet, and now too hot this year! Maybe we just can’t be satisfied. The first or second week in May is usually when I plant most of the seeds and the more delicate plants like tomatoes and peppers. This year it was almost two weeks later before the ground was warm enough.
One cool night weather precaution that has worked well for me over the years is a simple individual “greenhouse” made from a milk jug. I just cut the bottom out and put one over each of the tomato and pepper plant. Once the danger of frost has passed the milk jug can be removed.
Cut Bottom Out of Milk Jug
Milk Jug Protecting Tomato Plant
This year I am experimenting with keeping a milk jug on one of my Pablano pepper plants until it outgrows it. I am hoping that by creating a mini greenhouse will help it to grow faster and produce more in our cooler climate.
Praises for Raised Beds
As I have mentioned before, I use raised beds for most of my garden. There are several advantages to the raised beds:
No need to till.
This allows me to plant while others are waiting for the soil to dry.
No compaction to the soil from walking or tilling.
This is better for plant growth and makes it easier to pull out weeds.
Soil warms earlier than the ground level.
This is especially helpful in our climate where we get late cool weather.
It is easier on the back for planting and weeding level.
I have a cement block raised bed that is great to sit on while planting and weeding.
Beds are easy to cover with netting or floating row cover.
In my beds I have iron rebar arched over the bed to attach row cover to so that I can extend the season.
While visiting in Alaska I noticed that a lot of the gardeners use a 1” PVC pipe in the same way.
Bird netting can also be attached to keep the birds from eating strawberries.
Straw or hay mulch makes weeding the beds much easier.
Make sure to use straw or hay that has not been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides.
If you have a bagger on your law mower the grass clippings make an excellent alternative mulch.
What’s Growing in My Garden?
Over time there are varieties of vegetables that I prefer over others. I would love to hear if you have some that work great for you, and that you would recommend.
Here are some of my favorites: