Piedmont’s Gardening To-Do List for March

Piedmont’s Gardening To-Do List for March

OK, Piedmont gardeners, you Zone 7’ers!!!  Whether you are a container gardener or full blown farmer, it is time to get your ducks in a row and get started!!!  WHAT???  You aren’t growing at least one edible???  Well then, roll up those sleeves and get started! (See other entries about Till-less gardening in the ‘Gardening’ tab)  It isn’t hard at all and there is such pleasure in putting food on the table that you grow, knowing that it is organic and fresh…there is nothing like it.  Who wouldn’t want to dig into freshly sauteed squash, zucchini, red pepper and onions???photo[47]  This is what Organic Gardening advises us to do during the month of March:

  • In the middle of the month, plant a row of Swiss chard. Tender stalks will be ready to harvest in mid-May—and the plants will keep producing all summer.
  • Also in midmonth, sow other hardy vegetables, such as carrots, beets, kohlrabi, radishes, leaf lettuces, and turnips.
  • Transplant onions, shallots, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, white potatoes and asparagus crowns to the garden.
  • Set out herbs, such as rosemary, chives, and thyme—but not tender basil!

I also have a book, Month-By-Month Gardening in the Carolinas, by Bob Polomski that I refer to as well.  He reminds us that we should:

  • Sow warm season vegetables in flats or trays such as eggplant, New Zealand spinach (heat tolerant), pepper and tomatoes.
  • Vegetables that resent root disturbance, cucumbers and summer squash for example, should be sown in individual pots or peat pellets.
  • Avoid sowing seeds too early or they may be ready for transplanting before outdoor conditions permit.  I use this tool to plan when to sow my veggies.
  • Put a sweet potato in a glass half filled with water and place it in bright light.  Detach the plants from the mother root when they are 6 – 8 inches long, pot them up and then plant them in the garden about three weeks after the last freeze, which for us should be somewhere around the last week of April.
  • Buy seed potatoes and cut them into egg-sized pieces containing one or two eyes.  Allow the cuts to dry and callous for a day or two before planting.  Plant them when the soil temperature remains above 50 degrees F.
  • Continue watering trays or pots of seedlings indoors.

I would add to these lists to continue making notations in your gardening journal about this year’s planning stages.  WHAT?*!? You don’t have a gardening journal/notebook???  Well, get one!Notebook - Picture with KeyTrust me, you will not remember specifics from year to year unless you draw diagrams, take pics and make notations!   Take a look at last year’s diagram and make your plans for rotating your crops to avoid pests and diseases as much as possible.

Yep, things are cranking up around here and I could not be more excited!  My mister is excited, too!  He loves coming home to fresh, organic home-cooked meals…even if his wife does have a little dirt under her nails and on her face every now and again. 😉  Hey…it washes off~

Crazy Good Gardening in the New Year – Zone 7

Crazy Good Gardening in the New Year – Zone 7

With the new year comes longer days (yea!) and preparation for your crazy good spring gardening plan (YEA!).  Based on Organic Gardening information it is time to take care of the following gardening chores:

  • On mild days, remove winter weeds, such as wild onions and chickweed.
  • Sow seeds of Shirley poppies (Papaver rhoeas) for bloom in May and June.
  • Sow larkspur seeds directly in flowerbeds where you want them to grow; look for blooms by midspring.
  • Indoors, start seeds of perennials or slow-growing annuals, like coleus and geraniums, beneath lights.Aerogarden with Cilantro and Dill 4 2011
  • Start seeds of cabbage, early lettuce, and at the end of the month, broccoli.
  • When onion and cabbage transplants are available at the garden center, select the best ones, then plant them in the garden beneath a row cover.
  • Near the end of the month, weed the asparagus bed and strawberry plot, then feed the plants and renew the thinning mulches.

I would also like to add that during this first week of the new year, I sit down with the almanac, as well as my calendar and go through making notations for the coming year…when to trim for growth or not, when to plant above ground crops or root crops, when to harvest…you get the picture.  Doing this gets me hyped with the anticipation of getting my hands in the dirt once again in a couple of months and producing organic, not to mention DELICIOUS, food for my family and friends.

My method is easy – NO DIGGING OR TILLING!  I invite you to join me…many have and LOVE it!!!


Gardening To-Do List for May

Gardening To-Do List for May

This is one of my favorite times of the year – one of planting, new growth and fresh veggies.  There is so much to do that one could very easily be overwhelmed without the help and guidance of some master gardeners and wonderful publications.

Here is a partial To-Do List for the month of May from Organic Gardening for Zone 7:

May To-Do’s

  • Plant moonflower (Ipomoea alba), caladium, coleus, zinnia, and other heat-tolerant flowers.
  • Don’t be too quick to give up on tender perennials and tubers, such as datura, Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha), cannas, and dahlias. You still may see new leaves by the end of the month.
  • Plant okra, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, sweet potatoes, southern peas, and other heat-loving veggies.
  • Mulch peas and cole crops to keep the soil cool; water them regularly.
  • Thin peaches, plums, pears, and apples to about 6 inches apart.

This is a  partial list for me because there is soooo much more to do around my little homestead.  As I have mentioned before I refer to the almanac so that I am planting, pruning and transplanting under the right signs.  Hey, if it was good enough for my PawPaw, it is good enough for me!   And besides, it really does make a difference in production or lack thereof.

For example this is what next week looks like according to Mr. Almanac:

5/14/12          Destroy weeds

5/15-16/12   Apply organic fertilizer; plant root crops; prune to encourage   growth and transplant

5/19/12          Plant root crops; transplant

You better believe I will be planting my sweet potato slips the 15th or the 16th, as well as following Mr. Almanac’s other advice.  He hasn’t failed me yet!!!

And there you have it…a guide to help you organize your game plan in the garden.

If  you live in a different zone, by all means, visit organicgardening.com for information regarding what you should be doing based on where you live.   I hope you find it helpful – I know I surely do!  Happy gardening everyone~