The Garden Plot

Ray Baird

March: Will we have more lamb or lion days during the month? Spring of 2017 is still 18 days from now but from the temperature right now, it seems much farther away than that. We know a lot can happen weather-wise in the piedmont of North Carolina; lest we forget, some of our biggest and heaviest snows have occurred during the month of March. The signs of spring may be few and far between right now, but as the month progresses hopefully we will see more spring signs around us. March does have a split personality which one day resembles a lion and next day acts like a lamb, and there are days when it splits between the two.

Croaking frogs are a sore spring sign: Even in early March, the fact that the days of winter are still here does not hinder the croaking of frogs down by the creek bank. Even though they are cold blooded retiles, their song is a song of spring and one of the first audible sounds of spring. We especially like it when they all are in harmony with their croaks.

Enjoying the gold of the jonquils: The amber and gold glow of jonquils brightens up the landscape and lawns all around. The most beautiful beds are in Reynolda Gardens on Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem where they wind among the wooded pathways. These beautiful beds have been enjoyed for many years as well as the huge clumps of mistletoe in mighty oaks at the edge of the gardens. We love bulbs and perennials because they are tough and return year after year with just a little tender care and effort.

The cabbage row can now be planted: Cabbage is a Cole family vegetable that can be planted in early March and will thrive in cold temperatures because it is a cool weather vegetable. Anytime the soil is workable during March, cabbage can be set out in the garden plot. Sets plants about two and a half to three feet apart. Cabbage plants can be purchased in six or nine packs at most seed stores and hardware’s. You can choose from Round, Dutch, Stonehead, Jersey, Wakefield, Chinese and Bok. Buy the healthy packs of plants that have not legged out of their pots or damped off or have yellow leaves. Make sure all packs have six or nine healthy plants.

Early June green peas can now be planted: Early June peas do well in cold March soil and thrive in cold weather. One advantage is they have very few insect enemies and actually require no fertilizer; in fact they actually are nitrogen producers. A crop will be ready to harvest in only 65 to 70 days. Once they germinate they will quickly grow into mint green vines producing blossoms and producing a nice harvest of tiny June peas. A one pound bag will plant a 50-foot row at a cost of around three dollars or less. You can choose from Alaska, Green Arrow, Masterpiece or Easy Peasy and Snowbird. Pease are a productive crop that produces a harvest that does not interfere with a successive late spring or early summer vegetable planting.

Getting the Garden Plot ready for the potato row or bed: Potatoes are vegetables that require a 90-day timetable for a harvest. To produce and assure a successive summer vegetable crop, they should be planted as soon as the soil of early March can be worked up. They definitely should be planted before the first day of spring. Plant whole seed potatoes and never cut potatoes to set them in cold soil because this promotes rot and mold and is a huge gamble or added risk. Apply a layer of peat moss on seed potatoes and then cover with soil. The peat moss absorbs moisture and provides extra organic matter to the soil.

You can choose from Yukon Gold, Red Pontiac, Irish cobbler and Kennebec. They can be bought by the pound at all hardware and seed stores. Plant the potatoes about 2 to 2 1/2-feet apart. Cover the potato on both sides of the furrow with soil and tamp it down.

The sweet aroma of spring Hyacinths: The plus of the spring Hyacinth is the colors of red, white, blue, purple, pink and even yellow. A bonus in early March is the fragrance that pervades the atmosphere on the porch.

An extra hour of Daylight is on the way! On Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 2:00AM, we will experience an extra hour of daylight for the next six months. This will give extra time to get the lawn and garden chores done. It definitely will not take very long to get used to having that extra hour of daylight!

Highlighting a new PASTE Tomato. Burpee Seed is introducing a new tomato variety of an improved Roma tomato named, “Gladiator.” We like Roma-type tomatoes because they are firm and meaty. It requires 72-days from transplanting to the first harvest. They can be raised in containers on the deck or patio or in rows in the garden plot and are larger thank original Roma types, weighing in at 8-ounces each. They make great salads, sandwiches, salsa, tomato puree and tomato paste. They are indeterminate and blight and blossom-end rot resistant. They also win the title of least seed for most money of 2017 at a price of 6.95 for a packet of 25-seeds.

Almanac for March: Wednesday, March 1, 2017 is known as Ash Wednesday. The moon reaches its first quarter on Sunday, March 5, 2017. There will be a “Full Worm Moon” on Sunday, March 12, 2017. Daylight Savings Time will begin at 2:00AM Sunday, March12, 2017. Please set your clocks forward one hour on Saturday at bedtime. Saint Patrick’s Day will be Friday, March 17, 2017. There will be a new moon on the western horizon on the evening of Monday, March 27, 2017.

Ray Baird

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