Tuesday, March 21, 2006

March activities: peas, seedlings, robins, preparing soil

It's peas-planting season! I usually start on March 4, but we had a snow-cover then, so I started a week late. I keep planting first Sugar Ann's and then Sugar Snap peas until early or mid-April. They taste mighty good come June (or late May)! Sugar Ann's are earlier and don't climb, so you just put them in the soil. Sugar Snaps are even sweeter, but they need a fence or poles to climb, so that is work if you don't already have a climbing place. Some people have grown them on decorative trellises near their front steps.

I have a plethora of broccoli seedlings, so I put three out on March 11 under floating cover. The great wind removed the cover, but when I came home from my trip to New England, they were still alive! I planted three more without the floating cover this past Saturday, but I fear they won't "make it." Perhaps they need a start in greater warmth -- or maybe the new ones will make it after a rocky start.

Indoors, my Malabar spinach finally germinated after about a month of meditation in potting soil. Also eggplant and peppers in a slightly less leisurely way. The sweet 100 tomatoes I planted in early February are four inches high and looking promising. It's a good time for reasonable gardeners to start any of these. I'm pushing the season since we seem to be getting earlier.

Meanwhile, robins are eating the holly berries right outside my study window. Pretty!

If you want some exercise, this is a good time to dig in compost -- or ashes from your winter fires. It's also a good time for double digging, especially if you are starting a new garden.

Now I will go outside and plant some more peas! One, two, three... each separate about two inches apart and about two inches deep. It's a big job to plant as many peas as I do, and it takes several "sittings." But they freeze very well and taste great both in June and in the winter. Besides, isn't it fun to get your hands into the soil in March?


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