Since August temperatures have arrived two months early, I’ve been wondering if it’s too hot to plant tomatoes. So I asked my food growing guru Mary Phillips, and here’s what she had to say: “It’s always a good time to plant food, and it’s not too hot to make good things happen.”
While it’s a little late to plant summer vegetables from seed (although I just planted okra, so we’ll see), transplants such as tomatoes and winter squash will do fine as long as they are well watered, Phillips said.
The former manager of Urban Farms in Binghampton, Phillips knows a thing or two about growing food. (She is pictured, left, in her bee-keepers veil). These days, she serves on the board of the Cooper Young Community Farmers Market and is a principal in a start-up business called Farm Girl Food Gardens. She also is reinvigorating the vegetable gardens at Hutchison School, where in the fall, she will join the staff to develop a curriculum in sustainable agriculture.
For Phillips, it’s not landscaping unless it’s edible, and her raised beds are testimony to that sentiment. She just finished building a raised bed
on a hill with a trellis for cucumbers for a Midtown gardener, filled it with soil and compost, and set out transplants. “We do it all,” she said. “We build the bed, bring in the compost, plant, teach, and answer questions.”
Raised beds are customized, so prices vary, but Phillips estimates that a four-by-four foot bed, filled and planted, would run about $250.
For more information on Farm Girl Food Gardens, check out the business’ Facebook page. There are photos of raised beds, as well as pics of the farm girl trio who make growing food look easy, whimsical, and fun.