Planting Zuchinni, Peppers, Eggplant, & Cucumber

We planted the Zucchini, Peppers, Eggplant and Cucumber plants in the garden a week earlier than planned on May 19th.  Because we have row covers with Garden Quilt Cover Fabric we felt confident that these heat loving plants could be transplanted with confidence. 
Normally you would wait to transplant eggplants into the garden until soil & air temperatures are consistently in the 70’s. For peppers you hold off until the soil is 65 degrees F.

Wheelbarrow with all supplies for planting
Laying out plants with Square Foot Gardening Method (SFGM) for spacing
This year we decided to start all the squash seeds indoors (our first time trying this) to give the plants a head start.  I planted them all in pots that decompose when planted because its best if you don't disturb their roots. All the seedlings were successful and we actually gave many away to friends because we didn't have space for all of them in the garden. 

Cucumbers (to grow up trellis) with Eggplants in front
This is our first year growing cucumbers so it will be a learning experience.  We are going to grow them vertically which is recommended in SFGM so we can conserve space in the garden for other plants.  

Below is a picture of the actual layout of Bed #4 and then beside it is the plan we drew up this winter using the SFGM spacing.
Plan for BED #4 using SFGM

Bed #4  ready to plant
Plants in BED #4 (starting from the top or back of the bed) : 
(16) Peas (after peas replant spaces)* with (8) Cucumbers
(12) Black Beauty Eggplant
(4) Red Bell Pepper
(4) Sweet Pepper
(2) Dark Star Zucchini

*This is the first year we have attempted to use succession planting (using efficient use of timing by planting a cool season spring crop followed by a heat-loving summer crop).  Unfortunately the timing didn't work out completely.  The peas were planted on March 17th but we had snow and because of that the peas took longer than expected to start growing. 
Next year we are going to have to start the peas earlier so that they have produced before we need to do the next planting.  I ended up just pulling out the peas in this bed (this bed only had 4 plants) so I could plant the cucumbers in their place. 

Pepper plant
All of these plants were grown in pots that I could plant in the garden.  All of these heat loving plants have a delicate root system so this way I didn't have to worry about them going into shock when they were planted in the garden.  You simply cut 1/2" off the top of the pot and then place the pot in the hole you have ready.  Cover up with soil, water and you are done!
Transplanted seedlings
We are excited to see the transplanted seedlings growing and are wondering how they will compare to those we bought last year.  At first we were a little concerned because our seedlings are much smaller in size than those we purchase.   However, I have read that smaller stockier transplants generally outperform those purchased because they experience far fewer problems with transplant shock than large plants.  Only time will tell!

Row Cover with Garden Quilt Fabric
Last Step: always finish by watering your newly transplanted plants.  One important tip: water around your plants not wetting the leaves.  Plants can develop fungal diseases if the leaves are wet going into the night. 

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