March- What's in Kate's Garden?



In My Garden (Zone 5-6)

Kate Copsey
Kate has relocated many times giving her experience in gardening from sandy upstate New York to Georgia clay and many areas between. She currently gardens in Central New Jersey. Kate also hosts the popular radio show “America’s Home Grown Veggies” heard every Saturday on America’s Wb Radio.

After a fairly mild start to winter, February blew in with snow and polar air giving record cold temperatures. Not a good time for the gardener! I am wondering whether my little crocus and garlic sprouts are alive under a heavy snow blanket. I suspect they are but until the snow melts and I see them again, I will still worry. I joked with a California writer that we are all so flower starved right now and he would know when spring finally hit the east coast because there would be a flurry of crocus images posted.

Snow covered raised beds

As the outside garden sleeps, I have started some of the early vegetable indoors. Kales, Chards, mesclun and spinach are all germinating in the warmth of the kitchen. I am using little core pellets for growing in the growing system I got last year. The system wicks up the water to the base of the seedlings which is so much better for them than watering from the top.

Seedlings in self-watering growing system

The seedlings join the peas in the sunroom which have put out a few flowers. Peas self-pollinate which makes them fine for indoor growing if you have space. So far I have managed to get a few peas growing and maybe we will have enough for a meal by mid-March. I can recommend at least starting peas indoors if you have some space and a large container. Sow just half a pack of peas indoors and let it grow in a sunny area, then when late March brings some milder weather, put the whole container outside to continue to grow and produce peas.

Indoor peas flowering and first pod.

The past few weeks have seen me ordering seeds and sorting out all the old seeds. Some of these will go to the local community garden that grows food for the local food bank and some are used for those emergency occasions such as remembering that you need to start fall vegetables in July and forgot to order any new ones. This year’s seeds include the Masterpiece pea from last year and more snap peas that last year. I found that I was impatient for the pea pods to swell and more snap peas would have helped see me through. I am also trying to grow celery for the first time this year. I am not sure why I have not grown it before but it will be fun to try. From last year’s notes I found that I put onion seeds into the ground in late March. This year I am starting them indoors to get them a month or so earlier. Some will also be directly seeded into the ground and that should give me a longer harvest of fresh onions in the season.
The flower garden also has some new additions in the form of some old fashioned cosmos and cleomes. These lovely flowers are hardy enough to be started and set out before the last frost and they will enjoy the cool temperature. These will be part of a new cutting garden that I want to grow strictly for using in bouquets and vases. The cutting garden will double as a pollinator garden to attract insects to the vegetable garden and make that successful too.




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