March 31, 2009: March in Review

3/9 Returned home from Arizona with a picnic cooler full of tomato & pepper plants. Only three tomatoes and four peppers survived the trip.

3/12 Started tomato seeds indoors in peat pots: Black Cherry (3), Brandywine (3), Cherokee Purple (3), Green Grape (3), Kellogg's Breakfast (3), Marglobe (3), Tumbling Tom (3), Chico III (3), Russian Persimmon (3), Persey (3), Homestead (3), Rutgers (3), Sun Master (3), Red Rock (3) and Volvograd (3).

3/13 Started pepper seeds indoors in soil blocks: California Wonder 300 TMR (4), Purple Beauty (8), Golden Cal wonder (8), Quadrato Rosso D'Asti (8), Early Jalapeno (8), Early Snowball cauliflower (3), Golden Acre cabbage (3), De Cicco broccoli (3), Buttercrunch lettuce (8), Prizehead lettuce (8), Red romaine lettuce (8) and Red Sails lettuce (4)

3/14 Started mesclun seeds indoors in egg carton (18). Started seeds indoors in peat pots: Parsley (4), Chinese Parsley (2 pots, 5 seeds per pot), Dill (6), Basil (4), Calabrese broccoli (4), Golden Acre cabbage (3), Early Snowball cauliflower (2).

3/16 John built me a mini-greenhouse in the garage. Nearly everything planted 3/12-3/14 has shown signs of germinating, except the peppers. Most were moved to new greenhouse in the garage, I left the older plants and the mesclun in the laundry room window.

3/18 Cleaned and prepped four 4x4 gardens, the 4x3 and two 4x8. Added slow release fertilizer to them. Also dug along fence for sugar snap peas, added slow release fertilizer, will add manure before planting. Planted 4 Canby Raspberries, 21 Tristar (day neutral) strawberries. All three pansies in blue planter are growing, the clematis is showing some green. Planted 60 sweet onion sets and 53 yellow onion sets. Made 4 seed mats, four varieties of carrots on 12”x12” sheets of newspaper, Elmer’s Glue. Laid aside to dry. Each mat contains 84 seeds for a total of 336.

3/19 Spread four bags (4 cf) of manure blend on two pea beds and dug it in. Planted 1 pkt. Alderman peas and 1 pkt. Super Sugar Snap peas. Planted two 8-foot rows of spinach on 2” spacing in raspberry bed. Planted the four carrot seed mats (336 seeds) and 52 beets.

3/20 Planted 9 Red Norland potatoes and 6 Yukon Gold. I think. I forgot which varieties I chose! Also planted a row of 42 radish seeds next to the beets, and two blueberry bushes (Misty and Sharpblue) in barrels. Got four packets of seed from Dan Chapman; Yugoslavian Red Lettuce, Compatto Dill, Savor F1 Melon and Petit Gris Melon. Planted 15 of my saved yellow marigold seeds and 15 “Crackerjack (large 2’ tall) marigolds in peat pots.

3/21 Planted 12 Yugoslavian Red lettuce, 8 Compatto dill and 20 basil seeds in mini-soil blocks. I made the blocks by packing a mini-ice cube tray with wet potting soil mixture and freezing. Popped out the cubes, and when they thawed I made little planting holes in them with the end of a toothpick.

3/27 Planted 36 parsnips and 18 spinach in soil blocks. Planted 4 Calabrese broccoli, 4 Golden Acre cabbage, 4 Early snowball cauliflower and 4 Prizehead lettuce in soil blocks. Earlier plantings were very leggy growing under lights, will try growing these outside as soon as they sprout. Transplanted earlier broccoli, cabbage & cauliflower to Dixie cups and added soil to cover long stems. Left them in plant window. Placed all other brassicas, lettuce and regular dill outside to harden off, covered with plastic tent. Planted 24 green onions (store bought).

3/28 Planted 18 Godetia and 18 Glorious Gleam Mix trailing nasturtiums in soil blocks.

3/29 Transplanted 6 each Red Romaine, Buttercrunch & Prizehead lettuce (3/13). Might have some Red Sails in there, lost labeling. Transplanted 17 mesclun (3/14) and 8 Yugoslavian red lettuce (3/21), 2 cabbage (3/14), 1 Calabrese broccoli (3/14) and 1 cauliflower. Spinach (3/19) and radishes (3/20) are showing in outside garden today.

3/30 Mowed the leaves and grass from side yard, put them in the three new garden boxes, will cover with compost later. Picked five daffodils, the first of the spring. Made note to divide and replant next fall, as many (most) did not bloom. Potted the second largest Tumbling Tom tomato into its permanent pot. Had to remove a shelf in the plant window to make room for the large tomato, which had reached the top of the window. Watered all the indoor seedlings/plants with a liquid (diluted to 1/4 strength) vegetable fertilizer. Started an inventory of all the seeds I've planted, and sorted the seedlings into "keep" or "dispose". I had planted way too many, of course, so I began potting up and labeling those I want for the garden. Others will be given away or put in the compost. Ran out of potting soil, so will continue this job another day. Pruned all but one of the roses and trimmed the thyme, which had become very unruly. I am v. v. tired. Remembered I had two bags of cheap potting soil in the garage, so I mixed them up with a bag of seed starter mix and half a bag of vermiculite. Potted up 8 of the larger tomatoes. Not real happy with the texture of the soil, I need to add some peat and perlite.

3/31 Bought 1/2 yard of compost from the nursery, and with the help of my youngest son, we filled the three new beds and had only a five gallon bucket left over. Since I still have a half-barrel to fill, I'll have to buy some bags of potting soil. The wind was blowing at 30 mph, with gusts of 50 mph. Just as we finished it began to rain. Went to Wal-Mart and picked up some peat moss to add to yesterday's potting soil mixture. Made 18 more soil blocks and put them in a clear plastic container with lid. I had drilled holes in both the top and the bottom, for drainage and air circulation, and I seeded the blocks with 6 each of broccili, cauliflower and cabbage. I'm quite sure the ones I transplanted on 3/29 are toast after today's strong winds. They were still too small and fragile to withstand such force. The ones I planted in blocks on 3/27 had sprung up overnight on the heat mats, so they were moved inside to the plant window. At one day old, they are already looking leggy, so I'm going to experiment with those in the clear plastic container, and take them outside to a sunny spot in the garden to germinate and grow, ala Winter Sown. I am determined to have some decent brassicas! If I can find another container tomorrow, I'll also put some lettuce outside to germinate. The parsley (3/14) is finally showing today. I have it under lights for now.


  1. I'm exhausted from just reading that! I'm also convinced that you don't sleep and live on nothing but pots and pots of extra strong coffee. You've accomplished so much! Really, just... wow!

  2. You have been hoppig busy all month since your return. It's always amazing how much there is to do in March after a several months of relatively low garden activities - it seems like March is when things start hopping.

  3. Jenn & Kitspfg, it has been a busy month, but mostly because I'm experimenting with different methods of starting my own plants along with trying to get back into my Washington mode! I expect April to be more fun than work.

  4. March was a busy month wasn't it. I bet you will be even busier in April though as things start to get planted and potted up. What fun.

  5. Daphne, Mr. H thinks I've gone stark raving mad, but I do feel like I'm finally getting things under control. March needs to get more organized, but I think keeping a journal this year will help a lot next year.

  6. Good night, Granny!!! You're a powerhouse.

  7. I need some of your energy. That's a heck of a lot you accomplished in three weeks.

  8. Wow! I feel like I'll be playing catch up all season to you granny! Of course, that's true enough, lol. The boy and I made your rocking syrup a month ago and the little guys who were visiting and the boys and I finished off ALL of it, lol! Carolynp

  9. Carolyn, it's so good to hear from you! I hope you're feeling much, much better.

  10. I thought I had started alot of seeds, I think you take the cake. The outdoor brassica's should grow great but much slower. The ones I put out after germination are just getting true leaves after being out for more then a week. I'll put a photo of them up on my next post. You should find some old windows and start a cold frame. They work great and best of all are free to run.

  11. Dan, either a cold frame or a small lean-to greenhouse are in my future plans. It depends on what I can talk Mr. H and my son into!

  12. A small greenhouse would be great, I am sure there is ways of persuading. I dream about a greenhouse with a bench on either side & a chair in the middle, that's all I need. To bad I don't have a sunny spot to fit one, maybe some day...

    I just received my greenhouse plastic for the poly tunnel, it looks like pretty tough stuff and it was only $0.25 per sqf. If you go with a poly greenhouse check out:
    They are Canadian but have an office in States as well that they ship from.

  13. Dan, I'm not sure poly would hold up in our windstorms. Remember my big maple tree!