March 28, 2023

Garden Notes: March 2023


  • 2nd: 0.1"
  • 3rd: 0.55" 
  • 10th: 0.05"
  • 12th: 1.125"
  • 17th: 0.65"
  • 22nd: 0.3"
  • 25th: 0.2"
  • 27th: 1.1"
  • Total: 4.075 inches

  • range of nighttime lows: 26 to 58°F (-3 to 14°C)
  • range of daytime highs: 37 to 82°F (3 to 28°C)

Weather Notes

March didn't do the lion-lamb thing this year. February's late mild temperatures continued into the first week of March, then the cold returned. This last week has been more spring-like and very welcome.

One observation I wanted to notate, was a small isolated pocket of frost on March 11th. I found it at the base of the hugelkultur, on the southwest edge. Mapping the microclimates on one's property is one of the tools of permaculture. For example, our garden is protected and warmer than other places on the property. But I haven't been very tuned into the subtleties of microclimate on our place, so this tiny pocket of frost was a curiosity.

Garden Projects

Aisle mulching and soil prep continue in anticipation of spring planting next month. Every year about this time, I tell myself that next fall, I'm going to get all of my garden beds tucked in with a thick mulch of dried leaves. Then fall comes and I make a start. And then it rains and gets cold, and I lose enthusiasm for outdoor projects and don't finish getting everything mulched. So, when warm days present themselves, the weeds all jump into action and take advantage of the bare soil. Then I have to de-weed them before I can plant. You'd think I'd learn. 

By March, the bare soil garden beds are covered
with weeds, but the mulched beds grow very few.

Another project - expanding our hugelkultur, with two more mounds. 

Dan started a base layer of rotted wood.

Our first hugelkultur is that mound in the background.


First asparagus!


Apple tree

Cherry tree

Pear tree



We're not getting much from the garden, so it's mostly food from the pantry.

I canned potatoes last year. They make quick and tasty hash browns.

1st salad of the year: chickweed, wild lettuce, dandelion and collard greens,
hard-boiled egg, goat feta cheese, and my oil-preserved cherry tomatoes.

You may recall that the oil-preserved cherry tomatoes were an experiment from Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning.

Cherry tomatoes preserved in olive oil & vinegar. I made
these last September. Follow the link for the recipe.

The jars sat in my pantry all winter, but with no winter garden and no winter greens, I kinda forgot about them until I made our first salad of the year. They are preserved in olive oil and vinegar, which makes a handy instant flavored salad dressing. I forgot to take a before photo, but here's what the jar looks like after eating some.

The tomatoes wilted somewhat, I think due to the salt.

It was a lovely addition to our salad! I will definitely make more than two pints next fall and work them into our winter diet with or without salads.

Next month will be planting month, and I'm really looking forward to that. Anybody else?

Garden Notes: March 2023 © March 2023


Ed said...

I think a major component of gardening is working within one's climate. Up here, our falls tend to be very dry, meaning any leaves put on a garden would blow away long before we got enough moisture to anchor them down. That is party why we practice spring tillage to chop up any weeds before they go to see and hopefully get things mulched before they overtake crops. Also, we tend to have wet springs meaning mulched areas are much harder to get dry enough to plant in the spring.

So I find it interesting to see other people go about it differently, and get it to work for them, because they are in tune with their climate that is different than ours.

SmartAlex said...

Speaking of the pantry. How did the dehydrated potato flakes turn out?

daisy g said...

The shredded leaves are in all of my beds now and it really helps with the weeds! Plus I think the soil enjoys being covered.

We have one more day of temps in the high 30's overnight tonight, and then we should be good to go. I have so many lettuce starts to tuck into my flower beds this year. It's very exciting to be experimenting with foodscaping. I'm also concentrating on growing more things for the chooks to eat, so that we don't have to buy cabbage, lettuce, turnip greens, etc.

Enjoy your week!

Leigh said...

Ed, you are so right about understanding one's climate. There's so much more to gardening than poking seeds in the ground!

Alex, I should do an update on the potato powder! I'm going to say that it's good, but not as good as fresh potatoes. Still, definitely a good pantry item. What I've really been liking it for is to thicken soup. I used to use wheat flour, but I like thickening with potatoes better.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Leigh, the garden is on my list of things to do this weekend, before Spring gets away from me and we are into Summer (my fear is with the already pleasant March we are having, Summer will be here by oh, say, late April). This mostly constitutes cleaning up my two beds and putting in a drip irrigation system (I put it off last year with my Redneck system but was not really happy with the results; as I am going to be away a fair amount of the Summer, better to just plan for that now. I still plan to supplement with the ollahs). Sweet potato slips came in earlier than I expected, so in the ground they went.

Rain said...

Ooh hashbrowns!!! ☺ I canned my potatoes one year and they were so soggy Leigh! They fell apart when I drained them, maybe I canned them too long! I love that you have asparagus growing! Mine should be coming up in a few months! ☺

Leigh said...

TB, I'm having the same concerns about an early summer, but with the late frosts we've had for the past several years, I don't want to jump the gun either. Dilemma!

Your drip irrigation sounds like an excellent idea. A lot of work up front, but it should pay for itself with better harvests.

Rain, good to hear from you! I canned those potatoes dry; no water added. Look it up on YouTube, lots of good how-tos for the technique. They aren't soggy! I should try some for quick mashed.

SmartAlex said...

Potato flour is a good idea. It would be a good thickener in potato corn chowder

Nancy In Boise said...

Wow, warm there, still mixed frozen stuff here. I had big fail last summer with our cherry tomatoes, bummer, wanted to store some that way

Leigh said...

Alex, it wasn't the original intent, but I'm really happy to have it!

Nancy, I hope you have a better year for your cherry tomatoes. Sometimes things can be really unpredictable. :(

Nina said...

Still just dreaming and planning about my garden as there are still patches of snow and it's going to below freezing at night. We're ripping out our first raised beds as they are too low and putting in 3 new, deeper ones to replace them. We'll use the wood from the ripped out ones to make some of the new ones, and we have a galvanized metal one which we purchased on a rather amazing special price locally. They only had the one unfortunately. Deeper raised beds will allow me easier access and we can use up a lot of the plant debris, sticks, branches, leaves etc, that we've collected over the past year, to do a bit of a hugelkultur experiment.

Leigh said...

Nina, sounds like an ambitious but worthwhile project. I've really come to like my deep beds.