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  • Writer's pictureLeah Austin

Let's get growing!

Finally … it’s time to plan! As the weather warms, it’s time to get your seed packets out and start sowing. There are a few guidelines though. Heat lovers, such as tomatoes, can be started inside, either under grow lights or in a very bright window, or in a greenhouse. You could also try the winter sowing method or start cool plants, such as peas or greens inside. Once the soil warms up a bit, you can direct sow greens of all kinds and get your peas going, too. Be sure to cover the peas with some netting or even an overturned mesh plant tray to keep the birds from nibbling on the tender new shoots. (They mistake the white root of the pea for a worm!)

If it turns out to be a cold/wet March, you might try your hand at soil blocking as a method to get super healthy plants started. They can be transferred to the garden once it warms up. Seedlings grown in soil blocks are healthy due to the soil blend we use and because the roots are air pruned rather than being cramped inside the pot. See Elliot Coleman’s soil block recipe for best results.

Be sure to add some edible flowers to your planting plan. Not only are they edible, they are beautiful and will attract pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden. Biodiversity is our friend to keep everything in balance. Nasturtiums, cornflowers, and calendula are easy edible flowers to start with.

The slugs are out now and it’s a great time to nip their damage in the bud by night time picking and/or collecting any masses of eggs. (Look for the white tapioca-like translucent/white eggs.) You can also apply some slug baits as a safe option. Check out the video we made a few years ago about slugs.

Now is a great time to get your garden infrastructure in place before the busy garden season leaves us with no time. Make trellises out of bamboo or branches from your spring prunings. Covering your newly planted seeds with a simple cloche of garden fabric, or even an upturned plastic milk jug, can help the germination along and protect the tender seedlings from our fickle March weather. (We could even get snow the way this year is going!)

Weeds! Yes, a little sunshine and warmth will germinate weed seeds and soon they’ll be popping up everywhere. Just like slug picking, if you can get a little weeding done early, it will definitely make it easier to deal with when it really heats up. You can hand pick and compost, or chop/drop and leave as a mulch or simply cover the area in cardboard/wood chips to smother them. If you do the latter, simply cut a hole into the cardboard, add some compost and plant your seedlings.

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