Whether you were planning on having a garden this year or not, I’m here to tell you that you must!! March is the busiest month for planting, too. Even if you just plant a few herbs in a pot next to a window or on your apartment balcony, it is so rewarding to grow food and teach your kids how to grow food. First, you must prepare your space and soil. (This actually should have been done in February, but you can still make it.) Mix compost with good soil and add a little fertilizer. Mix it like a salad and let it sit for a day, or even a week. Now you’re ready to plant. The easiest plants to consider planting this month are arugula, chives, chamomile, cucumber, mint, tomatoes, and strawberries. These would all do fine in pots (make sure your pots are lifted off the ground somehow and have good drainage.) You can save money by starting with seeds, but may want to jump start things by buying quality started plants from a local nursery. If harsh weather is still a possibility, be prepared to protect your baby plants with covers, such as some sticks with trash bags draped over them. Treat your plants to lots of sunshine and water, and they will treat you when it comes time for harvesting!
At my house I’m finishing my preparations for my first year of actually planting on my own property! I’m not claiming to be a master gardener here, so I’m blogging about it to share my progress with everyone. At the same time, I have worked in my family’s garden and studied everything there is to study about organic gardening. We’ve done a lot of work at our house- mainly clearing the forest of deeply rooted plants and railroad ties that commanded our yard. (We had a big garage sale and used the money to pay workers to help us get the job done.) We’ve had to create retaining walls, sift roots and sticks out of dirt, move dirt and concrete, and much more. The yard actually started as a forest of overgrown tropical trees and an old, cracked empty 12-foot pool! After three years we are finally ready to have a garden!
I have to plant all edible plants in raised beds lined with chicken wire and weed cloth to protect from a serious gopher problem. (I know this because I planted a few things last year, waited patiently for my first blossoms to arrive, only to find the gophers had gobbled them up before they even had a chance to grow.) We have some planters made out of retaining wall blocks, and some made of redwood that my husband built. I have started a compost pile, but will need to buy a planter mix that is half compost and half garden soil, from my local dirt yard.
I’ve got my seeds! This year I plan to plant (at least):Arugula Basil Beets Bush Beans Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cauliflower Carrots Cat Grass (for the cat!) Chamomile Chives Cilantro Corn Cucumbers Fennel Kale Lavender Leeks Lettuce Melons Mint Oregano Parsley Peas Peppers (orange and purple bell) Pumpkins (sweet) Sweet Potatoes Rosemary Sage Spinach Squash (zucchini and yellow) Strawberries Thyme Tomatoes *I also have some potted trees that I plan to put in the ground this month: avocado, figs, lemon, lime, and orange.
I know it seems like a lot, but I have quite a bit of space, which I have organized well. I’ll also spread planter mix on my grass yard and replenish with new grass seed. For all the areas surrounding my planter boxes, I will plant native and perennial flowering plants to attract local pollinators and songbirds. I’ll keep you posted on our progress!