Welcome March-Let’s Get Growing!

02 Mar Welcome March-Let’s Get Growing!

March is here, and it’s time to get organized for your spring garden. Lucky for you, this Saturday is GROW DAY, an all-day seminar about growing food and creating the best organic yard you possibly can.
A small part of my tomato harvest last year, along with melons, peppers, and garlic. In the background are seed packets of carrots and late crops that are about to be sown in the late July garden.
We begin with tomatoes, an entire workshop dedicated to choosing varieties, site selection, planting methods, spacing, staking, pinching, feeding, and pest control. I grow dozens of tomato plants in my home garden, a small portion of them are shown here on my harvest table.

 

Arugula self seeds from seed heads in my garden every year.
Next I will talk about the different ways to grow food. Should you direct seed into the garden? How about starting plants ahead of time from seed?
 In my own beds, I have lots of plants that self-seed as well, such as the arugula shown above. As the spring crop of arugula goes to seed, I take the dried seed heads and lay them down in a new bed. Within a few weeks, baby arugula plants are emerging. I haven’t had to plant new arugula seed for years. The same is true for my mustard and borage.
Diane will teach you how to raise monarch butterflies and why it is SO important that you do so in your ORGANICALLY grown garden.
Diane will share with us her amazing work last year raising over 200 monarch butterflies and teach you how you too can raise them. The news from Mexico this winter is very encouraging, the count of overwintering monarchs is finally way up. We helped and you can too! Learn why it is SO important to garden organically when you invite monarchs into your yard.
Real life veggie garden plans will be shared- from my own garden and those of my staff. 
After lunch, I will share with you some real life veggie garden plans. Besides my own raised bed layout and succession cropping cycles, my staff has given me examples of what they do in their own gardens.
Next, I will discuss ways to stretch the veggie growing season from early April until late November. I gave this talk at the flower show and the room was filled to overflowing! This year, you may even be able to start planting in March if this weather keeps up.
The last workshop of the day is about growing 3 superfruits-elderberries, blueberries, and goji berries. I have been enjoying the fruits of my harvest this winter, eating frozen blueberries and making
elderberry syrup to help boost my immune system. Last year, we planted our first goji berries in Veggie Island in our parking lot.

 

Walk-ins are welcome for Grow Dayand you are welcome to register in advance on our website. It’s so easy. The cost for an all-day pass is a bargain: $40 for SIX classes.
Be sure to download our Winter/Early Spring Class Brochure click here and check out all the upcoming classes. And check out the Upcoming Events below to see more places I will be speaking and the events where Natureworks will have a vendor booth this month. Along with Grow Day at the Zion Episcopal Church, we will also be selling books, seeds, and bulbs at the Hardy Plant Society Soup Symposium this Saturday in Berlin. The morning talk is about Tiarellas and the afternoon talk features miniature hostas. For details, see below.

 

One of my favorite tricks to extend the growing season and double the harvest in a small area is to plant seedlings AND seeds of the same plant at the same time. Shown above is my escarole bed in late August. You can do the same with lettuce of all kinds. Start your lettuce seedlings now and plant them out in April; plant seeds between the plants and voila! Double the food harvest.

Our red witch hazel is in bloom at the shop!
As I pulled into Natureworks today, I was thrilled to see our

‘Diane’ red witchhazel in full bloom as well as our yellow ‘Arnold’s Promise’ variety by the front of the shop. Along the driveway, the winter aconites and snowdrops are flowering. In the shade garden, there are Hellebores in bud and flower everywhere you look. At home, my pussywillows are popping and I am

The bees found my snow crocus the minute they opened.

starting to harvest them to make bunches, and perhaps a few wreaths, for when we open in a few weeks. As I took a walk around the neighborhood, I saw daffodils up and buds showing. My snow crocus are blooming in my courtyard and by my driveway. The buds are swelling on my Lonicera fragrantissima (winter honeysuckle). The winter pansies have come to life and buds are visible on them as well. Check out the article below about the things you CAN be doing in your garden in early March. We all want to take full advantage of every nice day and get outside.

I am SO excited about Grow Day this Saturday, and about the signs all around us of an early spring. We deserve it after the past few ridiculously cold and snowy winters. The plants in our gardens seem to know that something is very different this year. Let’s all share that joyful feeling and THINK SPRING- it is only 18 days away!

 

I’ll see you soon…
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