Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March in My Garden


In just the past week, we had temperatures in the seventies, six inches of snow, a low of 2 degrees, and today we are back up to 60 with rain. With fluctuating weather like this, you know it is March. Whether it is like a lion or a lamb, whether it is barefoot weather or blizzards, March is heralds spring. I can't wait!

A quick glance over the landscape shows the same barren brown stumble we've seen for the last four months. But take a closer look and you'll find swelling buds and green spears poking out of the earth. March may be a brown teaser but it annouces a new season, a blank canvas just bursting with possibilities! For the optimistic, the visions of what could be, are often more exciting than the reality!

Here is some of the garden tasks for this month. (Remember, this is written for my zone 6, which may need adapted for where you live.)

1. Purchase seeds

If you haven't already purchased your seeds by mail order, nurseries and garden centers are setting up their seed displays. I have all my seeds but I will try to get to my local garden center for seed potatoes and onion sets.

2. Prepare your garden soil

Beautiful, healthy dirt makes beautiful healthy plants. If you've never taken a soil test, you may consider doing one this year. A layer of compost, an application of lime, or other fertilizer in early spring may have a huge impact on your garden's productivity this year. If you plan to begin a new flower or garden bed, now is the time to till and amend the soil. Of course, if you are getting rain like us, it will be a while before you can walk into the garden without being sucked in. But since our drought last summer, I will try to never complain about rain ever again!

3. Draw up a garden plan

Spend a few minutes planning can save some grief later. This is when keeping some garden records is helpful. Think about what you planted last year and remember to plant the same vegetable in a different area of the garden this year. Crop rotation will help halt the spread of disease and insect pests.

4. Plant early vegetable seeds

As soon as the garden is dry enough to be worked, I like to plant the early vegetable crops. Peas, potatoes, onions, spinach and lettuce are some of the earliest. In our area, I've heard the old timers say that St Patrick's Day (March 17) is the time to plant peas and Good Friday (April 22 this year) is the perfect potato planting day. I will just pick a dry day that is suitable for my husband to help!

5. Start indoor seeds

Tomatoes, peppers and flowers should be started in early March to be set out when the danger of frost is past. If you have cold hardy plants such as broccoli, cabbage and lettuce started, they can be moved to a cold frame or planted in a protected area this month. I sometimes plant these cold hardy plants in the garden and protect with row cover, hoop house or milk jugs.

6. Clean up flower beds

Unless you did this in the fall, cut back old perennial foliage, rake out the leaves and remove the garden debris from around the emerging spring blooming bulbs. If you have some homemade compost available, apply a thin layer over the soil, avoiding the crowns of the perennials. Plant some early pansies, sit back, and enjoy the spring show! If we have a warm spell and perennials such as hosta begin to emerge, dividing the plants early will make the job less difficult and give you new plants to fill in any gaps!

I'm getting excited about March! In a way I'm sorry to see the slower days of winter end - but it will be so good to be outside enjoying the sunshine again!

Check out what others are doing at
Tuesday Garden Party
and the Barn Hop

9 comments :

  1. I'm excited too! I didn't get my broccoli started yet, is it too late?

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  2. We, too, have been getting our gardens ready around here. I can't wait.
    Oh, and I used your recipe for sweet dough and made cinnamon rolls this weekend. They were fabulous!!! Thank you so much for sharing all of your great recipes.

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  3. Wonderful!
    I too am so excited about Spring's grand entrance. This morning, the children were told that today the yard is to get readied for gardens (both vegetable and flower)!
    Of course this is my way of getting us all outdoors so that I can actually do all the planning and preparing.
    Blessings to you and yours and may God richly bless your endeavors!
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have ordered seeds, and drawn up my plan, and can't wait to get in the dirt:D Here in PA though I have a bit of a wait:(

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  5. After this weekend, I am getting right on it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. The one thing I always love about link ups is that It's a fun way to be introduced to blogs I've never visited.

    I enjoyed my visit here. A great post to remind everyone what needs to be happening now!

    We live in Virginia and so I'm with you on much of what your doing right now. I actually saw my first daffodil bloom yesterday afternoon.

    It's a lovely reminder of God's promises to us of spring:)

    Lovely, lovely blog!

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  7. Gina,
    I live in South Central Kansas and we are not quite as far along as you are, but I was wondering if you could tell me your favorite seed catalog. I know I'm running late on this, but I also know you have experience in this area! ;o)
    Thanks, Kristin

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  8. Kristin -
    You are not too late for seeds that you are planting in the garden. This is the busy time for seed companies so you may wait a little longer but the larger companies are prepared for the spring rush.

    This year I ordered all my seeds from Stokes. I like that they have trialed their seeds in my area and our adapted to my climate. They have decent prices. I don't know if it is important to you, but they are not organic.

    I also like Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. There website and catalog is a feast for the eyes and I've had good success with their seeds.
    Gina

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great list, Gina! I found myself checking off things in my head as I read- you're right, we're not too far off from each other as these are basically what I need to do, too. :-)

    -Jami
    An Oregon Cottage

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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