Start weeding in earnest. Many weeds are already flowering and setting seed, so we have to be really diligent in removing them. But where to put them? Weeds that haven’t flowered yet can go into the compost pile. Those that have seeded need to go far from the garden. Any that have gotten buggy go into a trash bag and even farther away from the garden.
Enjoy the lettuce and spinach. Many of our spring greens are beautiful right now but will bolt (put up seed stalks) as soon as the soil gets hot. You can still chance a late-season planting in a shady spot but are better off turning the now-hot soil over to the tropical-temp-loving vegetables, like peppers and eggplants. I let my mustard and arugula flower and drop seed because I love the flowers, and the dropped seed comes up on its own in the fall when soils once again cool off.
Bring in some new soil. I’ve been getting questions (that means three) from readers about what soil is best for raised beds. So let’s get terminology right. Topsoil is whatever contractors scrape off a construction site before starting a project. It contains sand (big particles), silt (medium-size particles), and clay (very small particles). In the Philadelphia area, it’s mostly clay. Topsoil has most of the minerals needed to grow plants, but none of the biology -- for that, you need compost. For new gardens, I recommend a mix of 30 percent topsoil and 70 percent compost (which, around here, mostly means mushroom soil). You could go 50/50, but no lower. For the next five years or so, you will need to add only compost, not topsoil. After five years or so, we all can think about adding rock dust to replenish the minerals, which get used up very slowly.
Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestonekrautery.com).