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Dear friends:

I have several things to talk about with you as you work on your garden. First, some tips on weeding. Then we'll starting planting some more vegetables in your plot. Are weeds beginning to sprout in your garden? You'll need to pull them out, and that's much easier to do when they're still small. Now I know weeding isn't the most fun thing to do, especially trying to weed the whole garden at once. But weeding just one square foot each day is a piece of cake.

I'm going to suggest you go out and buy a packet of radish seeds and get ready to do some more planting in your garden. Ask for a radish variety that does well in summmer. I chose an Oriental white variety that says ``summer'' right on the packet.

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What we're going to do is simply plant a radish seed wherever there is a little space, even if it is only temporary space -- like the corner of each square where you have a young pepper or eggplant. Radishes grow very fast and can be harvested in 40 to 45 days, sometimes earlier. So by the time the bigger plant is beginning to need all the square to itself, the radish should have grown big enough to harvest.

Using your forefinger, poke the seeds into the ground about -inch deep. Cover them with vermiculite. (We talked about vermiculite last time. It keeps small seeds from blowing away.) Then water them gently with a watering can. I planted radish seeds in my garden soil a few days ago, and now most of them have germinated.

You might recall when I drew a plan of my garden that I had one square unplanted. I reserved that for Swiss chard, which I planted just the other day. Swiss chard, or simply chard, as it is sometimes called, is a member of the beet family but is grown only for its tender, green leaves.

I planted four chard in one square. You press your finger a half-inch deep in the soil, drop in a seed, and cover it with vermiculite. One last tip: If you've planted beans in your cage garden, they should be starting to climb up the wire fencing. If they aren't, just encourage them by gently placing the plants on the cage. They'll do fine on their own after that. If you're growing tomatoes in your cage, you don't have to do anything to them. As they become bushy, the fencing will support them. Sincerely,

Peter Tonge (P.S.: Next, we'll start sowing some seeds indoors, so you can plant them in your garden later.)

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