Wednesday, 4 March 2015

March Ramblings At The Potager

 Bring in some fruit tree clippings for indoor forcing.
They soon begin to flower, bringing with them the sweet scent of spring.

Welcome March, just days away from the official start of spring!
Here on the island though, spring has already sprung ... with daffodils, tulips, pansies in bloom, forsythia, cherry, and plum trees full of colour.
In other parts of Canada though? Very, very cold this year or buried 6' deep in snow. 


So... What's happening at the potager this month?

In the garden....



The rhubarb is coming up gangbusters!


Plum trees are blooming!

Chives
Herbs of all kinds, plus flowers and bulbs, are all up and showing off for spring.   

In the greenhouse...


Roses are beginning to flush out
The bare roots roses have been planted up and are starting to grow new shoots so that they can be in full flush of foliage and blooms by Mother's Day.

  Peppers, hot and sweet. 
 
The peppers seedlings are being transplanted into organic, bio-pots.

 Arbequina olives

The Arbequina has started to produce hundreds of wee little olives. 

  Variegated Pink Eureka Lemon

The citrus fruit trees are not only putting on new fruits and new blossoms, they are also ripening off the existing fruits. These pink lemons above are ripe, ready, so sweet and wonderful, plus pretty to look at. 
 
What to do in the Potager this month....


Prune Fruit Trees ...
Is pretty much too late to prune your fruit trees here on the island, but pretty near the perfect time anywhere else.
Late winter is the best time to prune your fruit trees. Bring in your clippings, pop them in a vase with some water, they will soon begin to flower and leaf out. The scent from these yellow plum flowers is gentle and sweet, the perfect perfume of spring. 
 
Seeding ...
For anyone who is seeding or sowing or planting this month, please remember that the nights are still really cool, frosty actually, so only put out cool weather seeds or seedlings that can handle the minus degrees.  

Sowing warm weather seedlings? Things like peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, corn, etc... Please start them indoors or in a heated greenhouse.They do not like to go below +10 degrees C. Bottom heat will work at keeping them warm enough though, so if you have a mini greenhouse with bottom heat, that will keep them toasty and happy. 


Have an English Mastiff like Ruby Tuesday lying in your garden? 
Nope, that's still NO reason to roto-till! 

This would probably be a good time for me to remind you NOT to roto-till your soil ... ever! No matter what!

Rototilling compacts soil, destroys healthy soil structure, kills off earth worms, micro-organisms, and healthy bacteria, plus promotes weed growth in your garden.

If you have 200 lb mastiffs lying around in your raised beds all winter, compacting the soil, simply use a broad fork or a garden fork to lift and gently loosen, plus aerate, the soil.

If you do not have a mastiff problem, you do not have to lift, loosen, or aerate your soil. Remember to top dress your beds with manure, compost, and/or organic matter once or twice a year, then let the earth worms and Mother Nature take care of the rest.

Plant your peas this month! 
What to sow this month...

1. Seeds in the garden, un-heated greenhouse or cold frame 

- Carrots 
- Beets
- Broad beans
- Green aka salad onions
- Spinach
- Green onions aka spring onions
- Lettuce, rocket, greens
- Radish
- Turnip
- Peas (to have better, and bigger yields, don't forget to use inoculant or buy inoculated seeds)
- Swiss chard

For most all of the items listed above, I highly recommend succession sowing. Succession sowing is a method of staggering your crop sowing to extend your harvest.
Sow small amounts, just a row or two at a time, of each crop every 2 to 4 weeks, so that you have a new crop coming throughout the growing season.    
 
 Plant horseradish, asparagus, and shallots!
Sorry about the painted fingers ; )  

Mid to late month is the perfect time to plant out ....
- Shallots or onions
- Horseradish
- Asparagus roots
- Fruiting shrubs like blueberries, raspberries, currants, etc.. 
- Fruit trees
- Strawberries


Calendula
 
Flowers from seed to sow directly outdoors this month ...
- Calendula
- Cornflowers
- Poppies
- Cosmos
- Sweet Peas


2. Plant up in pots, trays or in flats, for planting out as seedlings ...
- Broccoli, broccoli raab
- Cauliflower
- Cabbage
- Brussels sprouts
- Celery


3. In the house or heated greenhouse

- Tomatoes! Yes, finally! About mid to end month, start your tomatoes from seed so that they will be a good size, but not too big, to plant out at the end of May.

- Dahlias and other summer bulbs! Pot up your bulbs if they have begun to sprout in their over wintering containers.
Did you know that you can take cuttings from your Dahlias to start new plants? Have a favourite one and want to have more of them? Simply take some cuttings and make more plants!

Other Bits and Bobs To Do ... 

 
Chit them up! 

Purchase your seed potatoes this month and chit them up for an earlier spud harvest in summer.
Let them sit in a warm place till they begin to sprout. This will take about 2 to 3 weeks. When they are ready to go, plant them carefully into the soil so that you do not break off any of your new shoots. 
 
Lay out your garden plan before you plant.
Pic from www.chicagonow.com

Lay out your garden design by marking out your rows or blocks of edibles and annuals.
Do not muck about in your garden if the soil is still wet! wait for it to dry out.

Happy Spring Everyone! 
Let the gardening season begin!