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Spring equinox

This is the week where everything changes- we go from shorter days than nights to longer days than nights. And the plants notice that!  Plant growth is directly related to photosynthesis and when there is more light they convert that more light into fuel for growth.  We hit the big time growth period now and it is time to dive into gardening full speed to take advantage of that.  Things to plant include carrots, beets, onions, kale, chard, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, peas, lettuce, salad greens and so much more.  Remember many areas still get frost for another month or more so it is not time to plant summer crops, though it may feel like it some days.

I want to share an experience I had yesterday at the Ceres Garden.  We have been mulching most of the empty beds over the winter.  About two months ago we pulled the last of the carrots in a bed and then we prepped it with compost and covered it in straw mulch.  We uncovered that bed for planting and the most beautiful soil was waiting for us to plant into.  The bed near by did not get covered with straw and had been left exposed and it just looked tough, dry and hard to dig into.  It was such a strong reminder that mulch is so good for the soil.

I just saw that it is “Check for Leaks” week.  It made me think how it is great time to check all your garden irrigation, fix any problem areas and get your irrigation set up now, so you don’t have to do it when it is urgent.  I have been seeing so many drip irrigation workshops all over the county.  I cannot stress enough if you have not set up a drip irrigation system then this is the time to do it.  I think many gardens struggle because they are dependent on us remembering and having the time to get out to water.  Get it on drip and a timer and the plants can get the water they want.

I still say “growing food is a good use of water”, lawns are not, long showers are not, car washing is not, frost protection is not, roses might not be.  Concern for water is needed now in our lives but  growing food is a good use for water and especially if you use it sparingly and efficiently.  I think we all should look at how much we water our gardens though and see if we can use less as I think we water more than we need to.

One last reminder to reinforce Wendy’s blog- there are lots of slugs and snails out.  Noticed a major design flaw at the Seed Garden last week as I looked into the crack between the raised beds- we had created a perfect little snail hotel- dark and small and next to all those great plants. Make sure when you are designing your garden that you are not creating lots of good hiding places for slugs and snails and earwigs.

As I always say at Spring Equinox, it is potato planting time- the next month is the best time to plant potatoes. I love growing potatoes- they are easy to grow (unless you have gophers), they produce lots, and they are fun to harvest.  If you have kids you really should grow potatoes.