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Rainy March 2016

The heavy rains of mid March will make many soils cold, heavy and wet, which means we need to stay away from them.  Working wet soil will compact it and destroy the soil structure, it is best to wait until it dries out some.  You should not be able to roll the soil into a “worm” and it should not be sticky to the touch.  Most plants don’t like to grow in oversaturated soil. It is worth waiting; if you have plants that are getting root bound- put them in a larger pot.

If you have raised beds or a well-drained area, you may be able to plant sooner than the rest of us!   There is so much you can be planting now: peas, potatoes, onions, lettuce, chard, kale, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, onions, beets, carrots, radishes, turnips, cilantro and parsley.  Don’t forget our great calendar resource that tells you when to plant what.

Year-Round Growing Guide

If you want some quick spring crops so you can start harvesting soon.  Try some baby lettuce or baby braising greens (a mix of kale, mustard greens and chard).  Plant them close together- drop seed a half inch apart in a row, harvest them when the leaves get two or three inches long by cutting them above the root.  They often will grow a new set of leaves- they call it cut and come again.

In a wet spring, the slugs and snails are very happy, make sure you clear out areas that they can hide when you plant.  I shake a little Sluggo around all new plantings.  Birds can also be pests in the spring, I usually cover new greens and peas with either an agricultural fabric or with little strawberry baskets immediately upon planting.

Garlic (that was planted in the fall) usually can use a boost of fertility as it enters its last months.  I give it one last watering with fish emulsion or kelp.  Make sure you keep it weeded, garlic hates competition.

I have given up on planting onions in the fall as at least half send up flower heads before they form bulbs.  I do all my onion planting in the spring- mostly in March but I have had good luck with April plantings also.  I plant starts, either ones I have started at home or I buy starts, sometimes you can find bundles of small plants (starts) at nurseries and it is a great deal and the plants already are pretty big.  You can also buy sets, which are just small onions, I have never gotten great harvests from sets but they can work too.