I think everyone is relieved to have March end. It has been a stressful month for the entire world. We pray that we won’t look back after April and think that maybe March wasn’t so bad after all! There hasn’t been much work in the potager, only one full day plus a couple of quick stints between rains. Thankfully, the plants are totally unaware of the trauma above ground, and merrily push upward with a cheerful display of blooms.
March was basically another cloudy, dreary, overly stormy and windy month that marks one-fourth of 2020 gone. Right now, I’m feeling like that is a good thing. Despite many blogs encouraging me to “learn a new skill,” “organize one’s household,” “do the annual spring cleaning,” “begin an on-line course,” “learn a language,” and dozens of other activities to promote a positive attitude I find that I am doing very little! Are you having a similar lethargy, or are you being highly productive and efficient during this suspension of normal?
Oh, I’ve made lists…lots of them, on my ever-present clipboard, but the only one with checked-off items pertain to gardening. The indoor chores are well in hand, with 95 varieties seeded. The most recent were “Copper Wing” and “Creamsicle” nasturtiums. The seeds were soaked in water overnight, and then put into individual pots (two seeds per pot.) Transplanting is caught up again, after enough plants were moved into the greenhouse to create space. There have now been 1672 seedlings pricked out and moved into pots or packs, about normal. Potting soil may soon become an issue. I read with interest that garden centers in Britain have now been closed, because so many (seniors especially) were using it as a wandering around place, just touching and feeling, but purchasing little and therefore putting workers and themselves at risk. Hundreds of thousands of plants will be “binned,” which is very sad because demand for veg, herb and flower plants will probably be in higher demand than normal, once this is all over and especially as the weather improves. Those of us who have started our seeds at home early are going to be especially grateful that we did, especially as seed sources are beginning to feel the crunch, and more and more stores close.
Weather has delayed most of the outdoor work, as it did last year. I’m hoping that this is not another “new normal.” Composted cow manure has been put on several beds, and will be finished as soon as a warmer, rain-free day arrives, although those bright yellow bags do add a cheerful touch of color. Right now, lots of fields are flooded and the rivers are over-flowing, and even some gardens with raised beds are too wet to work. If you look closely at the right side of the photo, you’ll see that the 4″ rain we got the other night washed lots of mulch from the paths, out under the front gate and down the slope. The main center path from the front gate to the back is nearly bare.
Despite that, in the potager the radishes have emerged and the peas are beginning to push through. A day or two of sunshine will make a huge difference.
The shallots will be planted this week, hopefully tomorrow since sunshine is predicted and I am determined even if I must wear my winter coat to do it. I noticed the spearmint that grew in the big pot by the Lady Cottage door apparently rooted through the drainage holes, and are now merrily running through the mulched path with lovely green, fragrant leaves emerging here and there. That’s a good thing, because it appears the mint in the pot did not survive, so there will be plenty of replacements.
The hyssop is greening nicely, which is terrific. It’s one of my favorite tea plants, and apparently very beneficial in these times.
The rhubarb has doubled in size, and two more clumps have appeared in the past few days. Notice that I still have not removed those chamomile volunteers. Now that all the plant sales have been cancelled, I suppose they will all go into the compost bins rather than into pots.
All the roses that I planted last spring (well, actually my visiting daughter planted them because my back was “out” at the time) are greening up as well. I’m so pleased that I placed another impulsive order recently with High Country Roses, and now must find places where they will be planted.
The harvest was tiny, only 1/2 lb. of spinach, but I realized in looking back that I forgot to enter the 2 lbs. of carrots found when I cleaned the beds back in February. So the 2020 total to date is now is 4.25 lbs. compared to 1.5 in 2019. The plan is to do better with storage carrots, onions, and leeks this year at the end of the season so we won’t run out as we did this year. The last leeks were just used this week, and there’s enough carrots to get us through this week, and that will be it for them. We ran out of onions before year’s end, but my mother gave me some of hers. Yes, I still need to learn from my mother!
So that’s the monthly review of March. The forecast is for two days of sunshine before another 4 days of rain, so I intend to make the most of them. The 1200+ plants in the greenhouse will certainly appreciate some sunshine, too. They are the smallest for end of March that I’ve had since I retired, but hopefully they will soon grow quickly.
May you all stay well, and happy in your gardens, wherever you may be. Thank goodness we have this virtual community, since we can no longer participate in our real ones. Blessings to each of you.
I am always so impressed by the scope and scale of your seedling operation!