March 22, 2011

Gardening In March

We've had so much rain that I haven't been able to get in to the garden much this month. I ought to be planting my spring cool weather vegetables. However, the driest the garden has looked this month has been this....

The ground is slow to dry

We managed to get the annual rye tilled in, but can't do anything else until the ground dries out. Even so, I have some garden goings on.

I told you about transplanting my strawberries and am happy to report that they seem pretty happy with their new home, as you can see by the photo on the left. My companion group garden plan called for putting the asparagus in with the strawberries, and I finally had to plant roots because they were starting to look not so good. I'm not very hopeful about these because the ground was still too wet. Time, I suppose, will tell.

Romaine lettuces with volunteer daffodil leaves

From my fall garden, I'm still getting lettuce, broccoli, beets, Swiss chard, cabbage, and carrots. In fact, it looks like I'm going to have cabbage seed to collect this year...

Cabbage sending up flower stalks

The turnips were starting to bolt too, so I pulled all except the ones I'm letting go to seed. I imagine I'll be needing to do the same with the beets and carrots soon.

In the turnip bed, I planted English peas...

2 rows of Wando peas

... which seem happy there. I'm using tomato cages as trellises.

garlic in front, lettuce blooming in back

My garlic (above front) is doing fine, but the radishes and some of the mesclun is going to seed. All the rain and then a bout of warm weather caused quite a growth spurt.

All this has me wondering about spring planting. My fall garden did so well this winter, even with nights plummeting into the teens, that I wonder if I really need to plant cool weather veggies in the spring. I mean, the spring planted ones seem to take so long to grow.

Cabbage seedlings after a CAT-astrophe and only fair germination

Too long really, before hot weather sets in and either stunts their growth or causes them to bolt. I'm wondering if I wouldn't be better off with large fall plantings and good row covers for the greens. With good thick mulch, my root crops were available all winter and spring. I'm thinking I don't really need to plant these in the spring as well, that I should just focus on an early start to my summer vegetables.

Brandywine tomato seedlings

My sweet potato slips are coming along....

Growing slips from my last 2
Porto Rico sweet potatoes

This is the first time I've sprouted my own, so I'm not entirely sure about the timing. Because of the problem I had last year with black rot, I ordered another variety to try as well.

March has brought some spring color, with both my almond...

"All-in-One" almond blossoms

... and my peach trees in flower.

One of my 2 peach trees, can't remember the varieties at the moment.

My rhubarb is starting to grow as well

My 3 rhubarb plants

I'm just waiting for some longer stalks!

Also doing well is my experimental pancake patch...

Growing winter wheat. Cat included for size.

My raspberries are starting to leaf out ...

One of 4 (out of 6) surviving red raspberries

These were pretty stunted last year and I lost two, so I'm hopeful they will do well this year.

I didn't think I had much to show you, but it actually turned out to be quite a bit, didn't it? I have to admit that March has been a difficult month for gardening. I've been so anxious to be working in the garden, but have had to be patient and wait. The middle of April is our average last expected frost, so planting and transplanting will start in earnest then. Hopefully the weather will cooperate.


Doyu Shonin said...

I'm glad there's so much happening to keep you out of trouble! Most of my garden activity this month has consisted of watching the chickens chase down bouncing hailstones to gobble them up. o_O

Conservatory Furniture said...

Hii... Leigh.....

I love your garden so much,the varieties of food stuff you have in your garden.I also want to do some thing same but i don't have enough space for a garden or farm.

Tami said...

Thanks for showing us whats going on in your world, Leigh.

I have the same thought as you do about planting a heavier fall garden and covering them for a quick spring start-up. The lettuce and spinach that "survived" our building the raised beds on top on them are much further along than what I just direct seeded this month. Sorry to say both my broccoli and cauliflower didn't survive the winter. I bet they would have with row covers.

The almond is just gorgeous!

Theresa said...

Considering March is such a fickle month, I'd say you have amazing diversity for this early in the season. Heck, we're still getting snow daily and I won't even mention the prodigious amounts of mud it's causing.
The flowing almonds look just beautiful.

Leigh said...

Risa, that sounds so comical but you all have had the worst weather! Have you considered taking up rice farming?

C.F., one year I had a little garden on my apartment balcony. The only problem was that it was over a blacktopped parking lot and got the full brunt of the hot afternoon sun. Still, container gardening is a lot of fun!

Tami, I think I'll try that this year. I'll just forgo the spring plantings and focus on a better protected fall garden next year. Ought to be able to get close to year round fresh vegetables! It would be worth covering the broccoli and cauliflower to experiment for sure.

Theresa, you're so right about March. The weather can go either way, but your part of the country had gotten the worst of it I think. We're supposed to get up to 85F today, but I'm not ready for that heat!

City Sister said...

Good looks like in a few months you will have peaches and tomatoes and all the lovely stuff that goes along with it.

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I feel like looking at all your garden is like looking into the future. We have a month or more to go to catch up with you. You are really getting a lot of food still, from your fall garden. Cool!

Mr. H. said...

Everything is looking good, I can't wait to see how those sweet potatoes turn out...I am trying to sprout some as well this year. I liked the picture of the cat in the grain crop.:)

Woolly Bits said...

your growth seems to start much earlier than ours! maybe you should consider getting some fleece to cover stuff in winter? I am not one for using plastic in the garden, but the heavier fleece has been in use for several years and is still doing ok for me....the only thing that's growing nicely just now is rhubarb!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Your flowering trees are just beautiful! You've got lots going on! Watching everyone get off to a start makes me wish we lived in a warmer area.

Seeking Serenity said...

ohhh, that almond is gorgeous!
LOL @ Risa's chickens :D
I dont know how you do this without a greenhouse to start the plants so they aren't all twiggy.
and what is he grass for?
love your pics..

DebbieB said...

Those flowering trees are just gorgeous.

Renee Nefe said...

love your flowering trees! I hope the birds don't eat all my blossoms this year.

dd & I are signed up for two classes on planting this year, one at the garden center. I'm hoping to get some tips on when and how to plant here.

I'll have to ask for a good way to get rid of squash bugs.

luckybunny said...

So glad your strawberries seem happy! That's very important. Everything looks wonderful, and it's keeping me going since I don't plant here till June! Seems to be coming along just fine despite March which always plays games with us weather wise.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful lot of greens! Spring greens are so refreshing after the winter. It is interesting how plants do in different areas - here the raspberries are so prolific I weed the underground runners out of the main garden!

Laura Jeanne said...

It looks to me like you have PLENTY going on in your garden! You're fortunate to be where you are...Where I live is one of the warmest places in Canada and yet we have snow forecast for this week. I haven't started any seedlings at all yet because I'm afraid they'll just rot, it's still so cool at my back window.

I have to say, your almond blossoms are just stunning! What a beautiful shade of pink.

Leigh said...

City Sister, I just hop the ground dries out soon!

Jane, this is the first fall garden that I've had like this. Learning fall and winter gardening has come slow, but well worth it!

Mr. H, I Just hope I timed it right with starting those slips. Still, I can always adjust next year. :)

Bettina, here's what I need to ask you about using fleece as a garden cover. Do you end up with fibers in your food! That is something DH was ever complaining about when I was working with whole fleeces. The fibers ended up everywhere, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. :)

Apple Pie Gal, thanks! The early warm weather is great, but unfortunately the heat gets oppressive come mid-summer. I can't grow some things because of that. :(

Peaceful, so far I've been carrying my seedling outside everyday to get a little sun and some brighter light. Couldn't do that if I had more, but then hopefully we'll have a better setup in the future.

The grass and cat photo is of my winter wheat crop. I'm hoping to have fresh wheat flour this summer!

Renee, good for you for taking some classes! Great idea. I hope the birds leave your trees alone too.

Donna, I just saw that you had another snow! March seems to reek havoc everywhere, doesn't it.

Evelyn, I was puzzled why my raspberries did so poorly last year. It may have been too little water during the establishment phase. Hopefully they'll do better this year!

Laura Jeanne, everything but dry weather, LOL. I know my seed starting seems early compared to yours, but I was late for our area. I just don't have a good setup yet, but hopefully next year.

Mama Pea said...

Too much moisture is frustrating, I know, but I still think it's better for the garden soil than being in drought condition. Your strawberries look WONDERFUL as does everything else. Thanks for taking the time to take and share all the pictures with us. You are soooo far ahead of us in the nice weather/spring department. The only garden "tool" we're using right now is still the snow shovel!!

Anonymous said...

I live on the Oregon Coast (lots of rain) so I all I can do is wait to plant anything. In the past I've started seedlings to early because I get impatient and then have to re-start them later when we finally get some nice weather :) Everything of yours is looking great, thank you for sharing!

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, we've had both too! At least we're no long officially in a drought. Too bad we can't have the perfect balance, LOL.

Renee, you sound like me. I've been guilty of planting too early too! I hope one of these seasons to have a place to repot my early starts into larger containers. Not really set up for that yet. But it's on the to-do list!

The Sumerlin Dorper Farm said...

I am very envious right now :) Here in Oregon, I can’t even think about putting anything in the ground until May or June. But I do have greenhouse, so that help out a lot! All your pictures were wonderful! Great Blog, thank you for sharing.

Toni aka irishlas said...

Sadly it is I who is behind this year and not mother nature. Work has been ruling most of our time with snippets of homesteading in between. I have found that things will eventually get planted.

Your garden are looking great. Thanks for sharing!

NancyDe said...

We have had a lot of rain, too. (I do live in a rain forest, so yeah, kind of expected). In fact, my seedling bed, after small dog depredations, promptly washed down hill a few days ago. I got a lot started in the green house today, though: beans, eggplant, lettuce, peppers, onions, some herbs, and peas.

Leigh said...

Hi Christine, thank you for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment. I have to tell you that I'm envious of your greenhouse! :)

Toni, sometimes it's just like that, isn't it? I'm learning what you're saying, that eventually seeds get planted and other things get done. Took me awhile to figure that out though. :)

NancyDe, washed down the hill, oh no! Sounds like you're making up for it though. That's a good selection planted.

Woolly Bits said...

haha, Leigh, that was a misunderstanding:)) I do put old fibres (aka woollen fleeces) into the garden as mulch, but never in the veggie bed. it takes a long time to rot and I only put that around shrubs and trees! working the ground is close to impossible, when you still have woollen mulch in it from last year... I cover my plants with "envirofleece" - a white "fabric" that's available in different thicknesses. the lightest one doesn't last long, but the heavier gauges have been in use for quite a few years now and even though it gets a bit grubby after several years, it still works. available from rolls, whatever length you need (at least over here...) and it doesn't leave any fibres in your edibles, none at all:))

Leigh said...

LOL, Bettina, thanks for the clarification! I've tried to compost fleece skirtings, but as you say, it takes forever to decompose. That, hair, and eggshells. I hadn't heard of envirofleece and had to look it up. It doesn't appear to be available here, but looks like it ought to be.

Betsy said...

I get my peas into the ground by scraping away the snow and ice! It actually works, though I still envy looking at your garden in its current lack of snow.

Woolly Bits said...

maybe you can start importing and selling it - and get rich in the process?:))

Leigh said...

Betsy, I always wonder what it means to "plant as soon as soil is workable." Down here, it's workable almost every day of the year! And you, sounds like you've found a "work around." :)

Bettina, now that's an idea!