Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March Gardening Chores

Holy cow, there's a lot of truth to the phrase, "March comes in like a lion." Once again I got ahead of myself and made an elaborate production of mulching my cabbage bed with a huge lawn bag of leaves, and once again March blew every last one of them to Kingdom Come in one fell swoop. Ok. So maybe it happened twice. Whatever. It looked great for a few days!

For now I have onions, cabbages and broccoli bedded down, and will be planting lettuce, spinach, kale and collard beds today while the signs are still in fertile Taurus and the moon is waxing. Perfect for leafy vegetables! I've created a handy 2008 Moon Sign Gardening Calendar HERE, if you're interested.

Once again, we live in Zone 7, so adjust accordingly.

Chores for March:
The Farmer's Almanac says it's time to garden when a lump of dirt squeezed in your hand breaks apart easily. So .. are you ready?

**Start vegetable seeds and annual seedlings in flats (or 6-8 weeks before last frost date, which really is impossible to measure around here, where the weather can jump 50 degrees in one day). Some good choices would be cabbage, broccoli, lettuce (yes, I've put out these plants, but I couldn't stop myself), tomatoes & peppers. Good annuals to start now are larkspur, zinnias and allysum. Be very careful to mark/identify all of your seeds, indoors and out. It stinks to have have to wait until a plant matures to find out what it is, just because you didn't mark it and forgot. Not that I know this from personal experience, or anything.
**Sew some sweet peas, right into the ground! It isn't too early, no matter the weather.
**Set out pansies. I LOVE pansies. They're so sweet and beautiful. And they're tough little suckers, so they can take the cold.
**Harvest Chickweed! Yum.
**Plant deciduous trees (e.g. redbud, maple, dogwood, holly, magnolia & oak), and shrubs (e.g. forsythia, barberry, witch hazel, rose of sharon & butterfly bush).
**Prune berry bushes to allow for new spring growth.
**Spread manure over the garden, and into the compost. Woo Hoo!
**Remove mulch from perennials as the month progresses, and compost. It's time to start allowing the soil to slowly warm up.
**Stock up on materials for plant cover during sudden or unexpected late frosts or freezes. Recycle old plastic pots, plastic plug trays, milk jugs cut in half, etc. for just such occasions. And watch the weather, so you'll know when to prepare.
**If you have access to wood ashes, now is a good time to sprinkle them around berry bushes and fruit trees.
**Repair garden fences, trellises, and border materials because spring growth will make it a lot harder on you later.

Spring is almost here!! :D

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