Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spring Chores

I love this time of year!  Spring bulbs are the first assurance that there is hope after a bleak winter.  This is also a busy time of year.  I've included a to do list for the month of March.  It may seem overwhelming but it feels so good to work outside, and what a sense of satisfaction when the orchard, yard, and garden are pruned, cleaned, and ready for the season.

  March Gardening Check List

Start New Garden Beds:
  • Make the beds 4x8 and at least 10” deep.  Fill with a sandy loam soil, add compost (Nutrimulch is very good), peat moss, and an organic dry fertilizer.  Use a shovel to incorporate the compost into the soil. You can  till the ground under the box put do not cover the bottom of the box with anything.  Remove all weeds and rocks under the box
  • You can make your own mix of organic dry fertilizer.  I mix it in a 5 gallon bucket. 
  • One part blood meal, two parts bone meal, and a couple handfuls of greensand or azomite. 
  •  Organic fertilizers feed the microbes and the microbes then provide nutrients to your plants. This blend can be used on everything in your yard: flowers, berries, trees, fruit trees, vegetables, perennials, and shrubs.

Prepare Existing beds:
  • Add at least one or two bags of compost to your existing beds
  • Broadcast the dry organic fertilizer over the top then add the compost
  • You can use a shovel to work it a new bed. It does not need to be worked into an existing bed that you have been gardening in regularly if you are satisfied with you soil.
  • Water your bed good and you are ready to plant
What to plant Now!
  • Plant peas 2 “ apart.  It’s best to have a trellis of some kind.  You can soak the seeds the night before for faster germination. You can also inoculate them.
  • Plant spinach, kale, swiss chard, beets, kohlrabi, mustards, pac choi.  Remember to plant the seeds no deeper than 3x the width of the seed
  • Plant lettuce.  Lettuce needs light to germinate so sprinkle seeds on surface and lightly brush the surface.  I prefer to start them indoors and transplant outside.
  •  Plant carrots at the end of the month. Carrots do not germinate if the seed dries out or is planted too deep.  I cover both lettuce and carrot seeds beds with a clear panel. It warms the soil and keeps it from drying out.  You can use landscape cloth or burlap.  Be sure to remove it when the seeds begin to germinate.
  • I recommend planting broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage from transplants.  Wait to put them out until April unless you have protection.
  • All these plants are cool season crops and do not mind cold nights and light frosts.  If planted in the right season they taste better and are pest free. Plant when soil temperatures are 55-70

Raspberries pruned and tied to a trellis

Clean up the landscape:
  • Cut perennials down to the ground
  • Prune roses and flowering shrubs.
  • Weed, weed, weed....weeds wake up early
  • Broadcast dry fertilizer around and add a layer of compost throughout your landscape
  • Spring bulbs of tulips, daffodils, crocus,  and hycithias should be up and on the way to blooming.  Enjoy them!
  • Prune out to the ground canes that bore fruit last year in raspberries and blackberries. (burn or take prunings to the dump)
  • If it is an ever-bearing raspberry you can prune just below where it bore fruit and it will bear below that
  • Thin out the new canes so you have 12-14 per square foot in raspberries
  • Tie the raspberry canes to a trellis
  • Cut blackberry canes to about 5 or 6 ft high and tie to trellis
  • Trim back lateral canes to 12 to 18 “ or 12 buds
  • Spread dry fertilizer around
  • Add compost

Fruit Trees
  • You should be pruning and spray a dormant spray
  • .Weed and clean out water wells
  • Broadcast fertilizer if needed.  Based on last year’s growth.
  • Add at least 2” or 3” or compost Keep compost away from trunk
  • Now is the time to apply a fertilizer with a pre-emergent in it.  I use WOW Supreme from Garden's Alive.  It is organic so my clippings can be used in the compost pile.

  • Turn compost piles and rewet them 

  • This is kidding season have your kidding pens cleaned and ready

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