March in the garden

I’ve got a wicked case of spring fever here (see Let the tomato games begin) but it isn’t quite warm enough for sowing seeds straight into the ground. That’s OK, when it is time I will be good and ready!

Container Gardening

I exclusively container garden due to a combination of a.) full shade in the only part of my backyard that has soil, and b.) full sun on the concrete patio area. Last year I used two City Picker containers I picked up at Home Depot and a variety of planter pots. This year I’m even more inspired to build on last year’s efforts.

In the April/May issue of Vegetarian Times writer Willi Galloway has a little segment on container gardening for “ornamental containers” with edible plants. It’s a great article with tips from soil options to design ideas for your pots, I enjoyed reading it and took away several good ideas. For my first efforts I am using two large pots leftover from some colorful annuals I had picked up at a garden shop last year:

On the left I have a Black Krim tomato seedling I started in January, surrounded by a smattering of organic, spicy microgreen seeds. They won’t get more than a couple of inches tall and will give us a quick crop for salads and sandwiches before the pot is ready for a succession crop. In the pot on the left I picked up a snow pea seedling at the local greenhouse and sowed a mesclun salad mix in the soil around it. I can trellis both of the seedlings in these pots as they get a little bigger and have a nice harvest on multiple growing levels.

Potatoes in a bag

Maine resident and about.com blogger/writer Kerry Michaels has a video on growing potatoes in containers. I got really excited when she suggested the same techniques could be used for a reusable shopping bag. How many of those do I have just lying around?!?

So I followed her instructions and put potting mix and finished compost into one of my bags, tucked fingerling potatoes that had started to sprout in my kitchen, and covered with potting mix again. I watered them with a solution of my Neptune’s Harvest natural fertilizer and plopped the soggy-bottomed bag onto a tray, to protect the floor, in my basement near the grow lamps. These are organic fingerlings that I had picked up at the local winter farmers market so I trust them to be unsprayed and have high hopes for their success in producing new potatoes for me. 🙂

I will do the same thing with a batch of Adirondack blue potatoes, also from the winter market, and hope they take off as well. In the event that I get dud potatoes I’ll reuse the potting mix for other pots and let the farmers grow them instead.

Bring back the bees

At the back of our small lot we have a section of dirt that has been home to many weeds and a rambunctious forsythia that I’ve hacked back. Here I plan to create a small bee garden – a little wild and untamed – something for the bees, birds and butterflies. I’ll hand till the soil a bit and start sowing a specific flower mix that is supposed to attract bees and butterflies. Since it is sandwiched between the carriage house and the wire fence this is a perfect space for a cozy garden intended just for the pollinators. I hope to put a small birdbath back there, and perhaps a tiny garden bench where I could sit with a book and enjoy the aromas. Since I won’t be growing food back here this will be a “when I have time” garden with an emphasis on wild.

Gardening chores ahead

I will be digging out the old poblano peppers that have been producing, slowly, throughout the winter and compost the stalks. It was fun but they’re definitely past their prime and I need that City Picker box they’re in. In the second CP box I have one robust broccoli plant, the other seeds I started met their end through the curious culinary habits of our two housecats (mmm, chives). I’ll plant around that lone broccoli with two tomato seedlings and herbs. There’s a third CP box, brand new!, to be planned and then planted as well.

After the last frost I will be planting a rhubarb bulb and a horseradish bulb I picked up about a week ago. I think the rhubarb would do well alongside the driveway where it would get a number of morning sunshine hours. The horseradish might go along the driveway as well but probably not in the same area so as not to interfere with each other.

Clearly I’ve got my hands full this spring but I can’t wait to start transferring my indoor efforts outside! What are you planning to grow this season?

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