March Notes 2018

March is that time when the cold wind whips through the brown but the greens of Saint Patrick’s Day shout out for all to hear that something is coming. Ah yes. That would be spring of course. Robins are everywhere following me around as I unveil their juicy feast waiting in the fresh soil. I saw my first grackles who will soon be cleaning out my gutters in search of food. Is it bugs they are searching for? And the song sparrow sings out in celebration.

My garden, on the other hand, is looking a bit rough. My plantings of daffodils are ready to pop however sparse in number they may be. I gave the front garden an early haircut to give their yellows a little boost.

Lots of sticks to be cut and bundled for kindling and my mulch made of weeds and cardboard I used to cover the vegetable beds to be neatly put away from view. And seeds to plant.

I managed to put up my rabbit fence with T posts and rabbit fencing. Hopefully clamps will hold it down at the bottom enough to keep the intruders out. For aesthetic purposes I used wire to attach some logs to the T posts at the corners of the fence. I thought that gave it more beef I guess. It won’t win any beauty contest but it will do.

I also put an old bench here so I can sit and watch my garden grow.

Lettuce tops with seed pods I saved from last year. Actually these aren’t ready to be picked yet.

So far I’ve planted lettuce seed from the tops of last years plants that I put in a grocery bag over winter. This worked out well as I could swish them back and forth in the bag and run my fingers along them working the seeds out of the pod and into the bag. Then I just sprinkled them around and raked them into the soil. I also planted snap peas and beets in the same bed. I’m keeping all rabbit food inside the fenced area.

I also planted calendula, parsley and chamomile and have yet to plant mustards (rabbits don’t like) and oats and crimson clover (the rabbits do like) outside the rabbit fence. Yes, I’m planting clover for the rabbits. Speaking of rabbits we had a new resident over winter. I think he lives under our porch. We call him Big Head because he has so much fur on his face it makes his head look big. He’s quite the docile guy. We run into each other often in which case I yell out “Big Head” and Big Head just sort of rustles quietly out of my way.

And I made another order from Ernst Seeds. I’m planting a small meadow at my parents house in Pennsylvania. I ordered little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), black eyed susan (Rudbeckia hirta), oxeye sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) and showy ticktrefoil (what a name) (Desmodium canadensis) for the meadow and a sedge (Carex crinita) for me. I mixed most of them except for the bluestem and ticktrefoil in moist sand and put them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge to stratify for a month or so before planting.

Seeds in moist sand to be stratified.

I also set up the germination box which is basically a couple of boards supporting a metal tray to hold the plants and an old wood crate placed on top to keep the heat in. It’s heated by a 45 watt light bulb we hooked up with electric wire and attached to a board which goes under the tray. Then I filled some pots with moist potting soil. I made a small depression in the soil with my finger and placed 3 seeds inside the hole, covered them lightly with soil and covered the pots with freezer bags. I also used a thermometer to make sure the temperature in the box is about 75 degrees and checked the seeds after a couple of days. When they sprout, I put them on a tray in a sunny window and water them from the bottom. After they get some leaves I’ll gradually thin them out to one plant/pot. I’m growing serrano and poblano peppers and cherry tomatoes.

45 watt bulb for heating germination box.
3 seeds in the holes. I’m a big fan of over seeding.
Germination box complete but need to check thermometer to make sure temperature is 75 degrees. And check seeds in a few days.

Oh and I also put up this adorable bee house I got for Christmas. As adorable as it may be I wonder if these cut up dried pokeweed stalks might work better.

Pokeweed stalks seem like excellent homes for bees.

As you can see it’s getting busy. The green is coming.