March Garden Tour

This will be a fairly brief tour, as there isn’t a whole lot going on out there just yet. Our cold and wet weather has put some of my planting plans on hold for a bit as I wait for things to dry out. On Sunday I did manage to get onions planted in one of the kitchen garden beds. The bed is about 25 square feet in size, and I got 120 onion plants in there, plus about 25 I set off to one edge to pull for scallions and spring onions. That’s a fairly dense planting, but I’m more interested in total yield than I am in getting big onions. I find the small to medium sized ones just as useful in the kitchen anyway since we rarely use a whole onion at one time.

onion bed after planting

onion bed after planting

This year I planted four varieties of onions from plants I got from Dixondale Farms. I grew three varieties that did well for me last year (Super Star, Candy, Red Torpedo Tropea) plus Copra which is a new one for me. I’m pushing my luck with Copra since it is a long-day type, but we are at 37.9° latitude here and that is just within the recommended growing range for these class of onions. Then on yesterday, two days after I planted the onions, we got more snow! It was only a couple of inches, and is almost melted already where the sun could get to it. That made me decide to give up on planting peas this spring. It is getting late for them, and the soil conditions just aren’t right even if I start the peas indoors and set out transplants. Peas do well here in fall and I can usually find a spot for them to follow another crop like squash or garlic.

snow covered onions

snow covered onions

Last week I also managed to work on a cold frame bed that had overwintered kale in it. I pulled a few of the plants that were struggling and left five Starbor plants that survived the winter and were making new growth. They will bolt soon though, so I set out a dozen plants total of Darkibor, Starbor and Prizm in with the overwintered plants. There are all hybrid curly kale varieties that should grow quickly and give us a cutting or two before really hot weather arrives. I have kohlrabi and mizuna plants ready to go in other beds once the soil dries a bit. And another bed will have lettuce plants when they are ready in a couple of weeks. I also need to build a cold frame to replace one that is falling apart. The one in the below photo is only a couple of years old and in good shape.

kale in the cold frame bed

kale in the cold frame bed

In the main garden, the only thing growing is a bed of alliums I planted last fall. I am happy that it looks like all the shallots and multiplier onions made it through the winter, and I only lost a few of the garlic plants. It was the coldest winter we’ve had in several years, and the temperature got down below 0°F on at least two occasions, with the lowest reading at -6°F That’s just out of range for our Zone 6B area, really more like a Zone 6A winter. It’s always hard for me to predict how much cold and wet conditions some cultivars can take. Things in that bed are planted 4 wide, with a total of 220 plants in all – 176 garlic, 20 shallots and 24 Yellow Potato Onions. I will fertilize, weed and mulch that bed with straw sometime next month. I got the below pic through the garden fence, since the ground is so wet and muddy I really didn’t want to go inside!

alliums in the main garden

alliums in the main garden

I’ll close with a photo of our Merrill magnolia tree that is blooming now. The large white blossoms are fragrant, and the three year old tree is loaded with blooms. We planted another one of these last year on the other side of the house, and it has quite a few blooms itself.

magnolia blossoms

magnolia blossoms

I hope you have enjoyed this tour of the garden here in March. I’ll try and do a greenhouse tour soon because there is much more growing in there right now than there is outside.

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