Daily Archives: March 4, 2011

March Forth Into the Garden

The spring equinox will be here soon, March 20, 7:21 PM EDT. Yes, that’s Eastern Daylight Time. Before spring begins we’ll bully ahead (and lose an hour of morning light) to daylight saving time.

For gardeners and the plants in their care, it doesn’t matter what the clock says. The important thing is the length of daylight hours. Bulbs are nosing up out of the ground. Trees are yawning and stretching, preparing for mid-April bursts of green. The 11 hours, 21 minutes of daylight today tells our growing friends that their time to shine is coming soon.

This year I’ll start a few seeds indoors. March is the right month for tomato and pepper seeds. They’ll grow in a south facing window for six to eight weeks, and be ready for the outdoor ground around the first of May.

I recently borrowed two books from the Library to guide me, Pittsburgh garden writers Doug Oster and Jessica Walliser’s Grow Organic and Small-Plot High-Yield Gardening by Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan. In both books, step-by-step instructions on starting seeds, written in a confident yet gentle tone of voice, offer welcome encouragement.

During March, cool weather crops may be planted outdoors. Sow seeds directly in the garden for an early taste of leafy greens such as lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, and for root vegetables like beets. Mr. Oster writes that those of Irish heritage traditionally plant peas on March 17, Saint Patrick’s Day, and Italians choose Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19.

Winds of March, we welcome you,

There is work for you to do.

Work and play and blow all day,

Blow the winter wind away. —author unknown

—Julie

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