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Steve   Gardener's Journal title graphic

April 2001

Here in Zone 8 (and in zone 9, too) March and April are transition months in the vegetable garden. The "winter" vegetables are at their peaks even as we are planting tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, corn and other "summer" crops. I don't have separate "summer" and "winter" gardens - my vegetable garden is ALWAYS full of plants.

Steve's April vegetable gardenI set out little tomato, pepper and eggplant seedlings in between the rows of maturing onions, carrots, lettuce, spinach and cole crops. After a few weeks of May heat, when the winter veggies are finally gone, their old rows will be the paths between the pepper and tomato plants. I plant seeds of melons, cucumbers and squash right amongst the leafy winter greens, pulling out just enough greenery to let the sun warm the soil over the seeds. As the cucurbits grow, their vines will run on the ground between the peppers and tomatoes. I plant green beans right under the same trellises that the English peas are still producing on. As the peas finally wither and succumb to the May heat, the beans will be climbing up their old vines.

Later in the summer, when the green beans are finished, I'll plant black-eyed peas and crowders on those very same trellises. Next September and October, I'll be planting carrots, mustard greens, cabbage, kohlrabi and other winter crops between the mature pepper plants and what's left of the tomato plants. There's always something to harvest (and something to plant) in the Zone 8 vegetable garden!

Steve Christman 04/01/00



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