Here in zone 7A, signs of spring are popping up all around us. Many varieties of trees and shrubs are heavily budded and early flowers such as Daffodils and Tulips are breaching the soil surface in vibrant green clusters, on nearly every lawn. Song birds can be heard attempting to lure in a mate and many can be witnessed collecting materials for nest building. It’s here. It may still be a bit chilly, but that too will change in the coming weeks. We’re expecting 50’s and 60’s (Fahrenheit) over the next ten days. Those, my friends, are gardening temperatures. Here is a quick update on what I currently have going on in my garden…
I received this beautiful galvanized planter from my mother-in-law, this Christmas. It is open bottomed, so I line it with standard weed-blocker fabric and filled it with 8 cubic feet of garden soil. Pretty straight forward. I then gave my soil a boost by mixing in the suggested amounts of Gurney’s Vegetable Food. It’s a standard 4-3-1 feed that should be more than enough to get my plants off and running this season.
Additionally, I received a pair of small Growoyas from my brother and sister-in-law and installed one of them into the center of my planter. If you are not familiar, Growoyas are terracotta watering devices that you bury in the soil. During your hottest months the Growoya is filled with water and the reservoir that sits below the surface waters from underneath reducing the amount of moisture lost to evaporation by as much as 70%. This is my first time using them so I will report my assessment later this season, when they have been put to the test.
I currently have peas and turnips sown outside and I am planning to do some succession planting with three varieties of lettuce over the next three weeks. — Butterhead, Little Gem & Bronze Mignonette — They will be going into one of the MASSIVE grow bags that I bought this spring…oops. I read the dimensions but it didn’t occur to me juuustttt how big “24 inches in diameter” really is until I filled one of these big guys with soil today. Why grow bags?? Well, I do love a good terracotta pot but they can get quite pricey ($30-$50) when you start shopping for big sizes and these reusable grow bags are less than $4.50 each.
Meanwhile, inside I have peppers, kale, flowers, eggplant and various herbs started in the greenhouse. Remember that lemongrass I started on New Year’s Day? It’s happy and healthy; growing in the window.
Another sure sign of spring — my parking pass for the community garden arrived this week, alongside a box full of seed potatoes from Gurney’s. They are currently sitting in the window in our spare bedroom (aka – a cool, well-lit place) chitting until the community garden opens for the season, on March 15th. This year I decided on Yukon Golds and Red la Sodas.
February & March Plantings:
- Potatoes (Plot #55)
- Onions (Plot #55)
- Carrots (Plot #55)
- Lettuce (grow bag)
- Peas (raised bed)
- Turnips (half whiskey barrel)
- Dwarf Blue Kale (terracotta pot)
Soil prep isn’t exactly the most exciting part of gardening BUT it is critically important to the success of your gardening season so it is well worth the investment. When the community garden opens I will amend plot #55 with blood meal (nitrogen), bone meal (phosphorous) and compost. We are not allowed to overwinter plants at the gardens so I cannot naturally nurture my soil with cover crops, as I would prefer, but supplements do the trick in a pinch. I am very excited to get the season started with the cold weather veggies listed above so I want to make sure that my soil is rich and ready to go come planting time. If the weather is starting to warm up in your region I hope that this helps you when considering what pre-planting work you need to get underway. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out. Cheers, friends!