Garden Quest 2015 #005 – March Garden Journal

TGC garden April 15

March this year brought an unusual spell of very warm weather (60s-70s) for long enough time to thaw the ground in one cycle. It got me out in the garden tilling and sowing quite early, then promptly had a hard frost for a week. Now we’re back into seasonal temperatures (highs in 40s-50s, lows in 20s-30s). My garden prep of existing beds is complete. My prep of new beds is about 75% done, so I’m way ahead of where I thought I’d be at the beginning of April. This is a good thing!

References to bed numbers will make sense if you look at this post.

  • 3-2-15 – sowed broccoli (purple peacock, arcadia from 2014; packman (new 2015), kale (nero di toscana), chard (perpetual (2014 seed)
  • 3-3-15 – Am told that ~40 paste tomato plants should provide enough yield for a year.
  • 3-11-15 – Having an extended warm spell. Hoping that the soil will be diggable soon (some of the yard is quite bare, but still frozen. Made a site map and garden plan for the year.
  • 3-12-15 – Did spring clean up. Can’t chop up leaves as mower pull string was chewed off by squirrels. Sowed Space Spinach in SW perennial bed and part of bed 19.
  • 3-14-15 – Transplanted 2-3-15 tray of Galilee into bed 17. Bed 17 further planted with Sugar Daddy and Space. S end of 19 planted in either Space or Mesclun; S end 19.5 spinach.
  • 3-18-15Finished digging beds 22, 23; Sowed with cover crops.
  • 3-19-15 – Dug bed 24. Marked rows for peas. Soil a bit cold to plant (about 39F).
  • 3-20-15 – Decided to go ahead and sow peas in 24. Soil is cold but not sodden. Dug most of bed 1, freshened beds 15-16. Note: I think Paw Paw seedlings would go well in bed 8, which still needs to be dug.
  • 3-28-15 – Hard freeze for much of this past week.
  • 3-30-15 – Return of milder weather. Dug bed 1 and started bed 12. Tulips emerged.
  • 3-31-15Going to take tray of broccoli, kale, and chard out to begin hardening off. Sowed (indoors) basil (aroma, sweet), kohlrabi (kossack), tomato (sungold, mariana, opalka, cosmonaut volkov), and ground cherries.

In April I should be able to get some more in the ground, and my sowings of peas, spinach, and lettuce should sprout any day now. Which means I need to get on my plan to build a fence, as pushing the season so early just asks for catastrophic animal damage. I will be able to reasonably rabbit proof a large section of the garden. The non-fenced areas will still need to have some bunny crops in it unfortunately, but I’ll try and use that space mainly for non-edibles like potatoes, tomatoes, curcurbits, and thorny perennials.

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8 Comments on “Garden Quest 2015 #005 – March Garden Journal”

  1. smeej says:

    I’ve heard human urine is a great rabbit deterrent. And easy enough to come by!

    • David says:

      I haven’t heard that but I plan to use urine as a fertilizer occasionally so it can’t hurt if it does :P.

  2. Wow, I’m in awe! I’ll be curious to hear about the cost analysis. We want to “do something” with our new backyard, but haven’t decided what yet, so next winter, we’ll want to make some plans!

    • David says:

      Cost is a tricky thing – and it’s easy to let that kill the fun of gardening. But usually the ridiculous money wasters are easy to spot.

      Tomatoes, even from purchased starts, are a big cost win.

      From seed, cucumbers and squash are easy and big wins. Mesclun mixes are supposed to be easy. Green beans are easy and superb.

      Slightly harder since they do best started in a carefully seeded tray and transplanted out are basil and broccoli. And that’s just scratching the surface but all very beginner friendly.

      Good place to save money is, when possible, to order the next size up from a base packet of seed unless you’re absolutely unsure about a variety. Most seed vendors will sell 5-15x as much seed for only a few dollars more than the tiny packets.

  3. flygal says:

    Can’t speak to the effectiveness of urine as a deterrent. Human or pet hair is also probably not really going to stop a hungry critter. Blood meal is an excellent organic herbivore deterrent and is also a nice soft fertilizer. If being strictly organic isn’t an issue, try Milorganite. It is wonderfully effective at deterring all herbivores, and armadillos too, and also won’t burn your plants. An electric fence will stop the taller rats (deer), but without chicken wire or similar rabbits can be a problem.

    If you are thinking about using urine, may I suggest “dosing” a straw bale for a few months. The nitrogen will work on the carbon of the straw and will provide a good mulch that also fertilizes.

    • David says:

      Flygal, thanks for the comment. Thankfully deer aren’t the issue.

      Re Milorganite: pretty sure that was banned a few years back. Even if it wasn’t, fertilizers based on sewage sludge are well-known to have heavy metal and other persistent chemical contaminants.

      • flygal says:

        Milorganite has definitely cleaned up its act, and is indeed still on the market. It tests well below the EPA standards on heavy metals now. In some cases lower than “virgin” (as if there is such a thing these days) soil. I do totally respect your decision not to use it though. We all need to be comfortable with our chosen exposures. That being said, I wonder sometimes about what testing would show on “organic” composts. I know many people who have had problems using composted horse manure from pastures treated with RoundUp. Not tomatoes best friend for sure.

      • David says:

        Huh, interesting. Thanks for the follow-up response.


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