Either way I look at it, the reality is that March is generally a very busy month for me. The warmer and longer days insist that I get my hands dirty. All the great plans made by the fireside in January are now falling into place. We also celebrate half of our family’s birthdays in March, so time has to be set aside for that.
The last frost in my area normally occurs in early March. Most years I hedge my bets and sow seeds a little early regardless of that danger. I am also not a complete risk taker, so every year I also start seeds under a solar grow light and the protection against that potential frost.
By the end March I find myself impatiently looking at my seedlings with great hope and expectations. It really isn’t fair that I would put so much pressure on these little seedlings, but they represent hope and an investment in time. They’d better not disappoint!
Sadly, they do disappoint. It is too soon to see the literal fruits of my investment what has amounted to 3 months of waiting (not really, but I was planning in January remember). Seriously, this happens every year. I begin to wonder if there is a reason that every other living person I know drives to the super market for their produce. It’s easier, it’s faster and really it’s sometimes cheaper!
Usually by this point I see seedlings for sale at various feed and hardware stores and they look 10 times better than mine and I wonder if I wasted my time again. When will I learn? Then I quickly calculate the savings and realize that the price tag on even the smallest plants are way, way more than I paid for mine. I regain some confidence and carry on.
Cross my fingers
I pull my calendar out and count the days till harvest. I mark those days down and cross my fingers that snails don’t eat my cantaloupes and strawberries again this year and that my zucchinis will not only male flowers that fall off before the ladies have a chance to get their makeup done! I wonder if the hard clay will be baked during the dry summer or if the fire ants will attack the roots of another fruit tree.
I weed and lay down fresh leaf mulch. I clean paddocks and pile poo along the fence line of my tiny garden. I do all of this with no expectations, just rote duty and my only attempt at exercise. I did this today and enjoyed the sun on my back and the sounds of the birds. I saw an earthworm poke its tiny head out at me. It is encouraging to know that the environment is hospitable to his kind. I know he is rooting for me and helping by moving nutrients around on a micro level. Thanks little fella.
Finding my WHY
I remember the joy of working in tandem with this great force of nature! I am part of the sacred circle that nurtures the soil and soul. Ah, there it is. The reason I do it! I have never pushed a cart down an aisle and felt this kind of peace. And just like that, no germination date required, with no idea of harvest time, what springs forth is the fruit of my labor. My why! This is why I do it!
If you are still with me after that sappy recounting of my experience, I figure you deserve a quick at a glance guide at what to do in your garden this month.
Be a LOCAVORE! Eat local by growing it yourself!
Week One: direct sow sweet corn and okra, plant nasturtiums among your vegetable beds. Begin hardening off you tomato seedlings by setting them out a few hours a day. Check on strawberry plants and mulch with straw to keep fruit off ground.
Week Two: Set out your Tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants and stake. Squash, melon and cucumber should be transplanted apart from one another and with plenty of room to grow. Hill potatoes if needed.
Week Three: Start cabbage and broccoli, succession-sow beans and carrots. Mulch around plants as needed. Check for bugs and hand pick. Harvest Strawberries and asparagus. Leave carrots alone. They are not ready. Side dress with natural fertilizer
Week Four: Weed and mulch. Add flowers to areas that are still bare. Cover as much ground as possible and condition the soil.