Monday, March 23, 2015

March Garden Chores

Looking back at the beginnings of our garden.  My kids pondering the next box or perhaps sleeping while
 I ponder the next step.




Let this be the year you just “do it.”  Get some seeds or transplants and start a garden.  Start small or add a box or two if you are already gardening.  I found some pictures documenting the beginning of our gardens.  Lots of memories and fun in the planning and dreaming.



New Garden Beds

  •  A good size for beds is 4x8 and at least 10” deep. The beds can be any length but no more than 4 feet deep so you can reach in comfortably without stepping on the soil. Fill the bed 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 use a rototiller for the ground under the box put do not cover the bottom of the box with anything.
 
  •  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.
Getting close to the soil.

What's holding you back?  Start a garden!

Existing beds:

  • Broadcast the dry organic fertilizer over the top.
  • Add at least one or two inches of compost to your existing beds 
  • You can use a shovel to work it into soil or just leave it on top.
  •  Water your bed well 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.Plant spinach, kale, Swiss chard, beets, 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 like to start lettuce indoors and transplant outside.
 
 
  • Plant carrots. Carrots do not germinate if the seed dries out or is planted too deep.  I cover both lettuce and carrot seeds beds with a row cover. 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.
 



Clean up the landscape

  • Cut perennials down to the ground 
  •  Prune roses and flowering shrubs.
  • Weed
  • Broadcast dry fertilizer around and add a layer of compost
  • Spring bulbs of tulips, daffodils, crocus, and hyacinths should be up and on the way to blooming.  Enjoy them!
 


Berries

  • 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 everbearing raspberry you can prune just below where the cane 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 18-24 “ or 12 buds
  • Spread dry fertilizer around
  • Add compost
  • Thin out strawberries
 


Fruit Trees

Our orchard in the beginning stages.
  • You should have already pruned, sprayed a dormant spray, and the first spring 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
  •  

 

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