As anticipated, the squash seedlings have indeed started their push outward and upward from beneath the soil.  They have a long way to go from here but are off to an encouraging start.  At the other end of the garden, the cilantro has also made an appearance with three tidy rows of tiny seedlings.

Catching up on gardening blogs, I read with some alarm a recent post from Planthoarder (http://planthoarder.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/bring-on-the-rain/).  We, too, planted tomato plant seedlings recently and I have not yet mulched around them.  I could argue that most of the second planter is planted from seed—no mulch until the seedlings grow tall enough—and that I still have more seedlings to plant.  I could further claim that it will be easy enough to weed and water between now and Memorial Day when we will plant the remaining tomatoes.  But that would be rationalizing.  I’m not too proud to say that I was just being lazy.

I’m a big fan of mulching both for water retention and weed control.  The other advantage described by Planthoarder—the reason that caused my heart to skip a beat—is one I hadn’t thought about before.  Heavy rains cause a lot of splashing and splashing rain spatters plants with loose soil.  We’ve had over an inch of rain over the last few days so we are in the same boat.

Well, not exactly.  The planter that is home to the tomatoes is new and there have been no diseases there to possibly spread.  Still, I will head down to the garden this afternoon to spread out a thick layer of straw (we use a brand called Mainely Mulch, which despite its name is a product of Canada).  Better late than never, I guess.  When it comes time to plant the next batch of tomatoes, we can easily push the mulch aside.  Thanks for the nudge, Planthoarder, and good luck fending off blight.

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