It is too soon to tell! But not too soon to get gardening!
March is a changeable weather month and so far we have had a “false Spring”and a few nights with freezing temperatures but planting season is just around the corner! What can you plant in March in the kitchen garden?
Like another March holiday, think GREEN! The Farmer’s Almanac puts Seattle’s last frost date on March 17th, so while you are toasting with a green beer, consider some other greens for your garden!
Peas, kale, spinach and lettuces do not mind the cool weather! While many gardeners think about their edible plantings in terms of everyone’s favorite (home-grown tomatoes), there are many crops you can get started now and harvest before those tomatoes seedlings go in! Succession planting is where it is at!
Prepare your garden beds now. Many seed packets say that you can plant “as soon as the soil can be worked” but you want to make sure the soil is well drained as seeds planted in soil that is too wet will rot. Consider putting a black plastic bag out over the planting spot for a few days to warm the soil before planting.
Green Ideas for the Spring garden
- Pre-sprout your peas by wrapping them in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag on the counter – in a few days you will see them sprouting and they are ready to plant. This will give you a jump on germination.
- Arugula anyone? This plant is a perennial and can survive our mild Seattle winters and come back every year! Tuck it in a corner of the growing space and let it go! Harvest throughout the year.
- Chives (as above) are another repeat provider! They are the first pop of color in the kitchen garden. Have a steady supply of these versatile herbs year-round and their pink flowers support the pollinators.
- Cilantro – have you purchased a plant in the past, only to have it bolt? By the time you buy a cilantro plant it is likely 6-8 weeks old, well into it’s life. Cilantro does not like warm weather so get some seeds in now for a Spring harvest – plant seeds again in August and enjoy fresh salsa even in the winter. Try the slow bolting varietal “Pokey Joe”.
- I’ve said it before, but it is worth repeating – Thomas Jefferson advised sowing a thimble-full of lettuce every Monday from February to September. I like that advice, and try to follow it. Grow lettuce in containers if you don’t have a lot of space. Consider using “loose leaf” lettuce varietals so you can “cut and come again” and get more than one harvest.
Another benefit to early planting is you typically don’t have to water very much. Those Spring showers will cover it for you! As our friends at Urban Earth Nursery say “PLANT SOME SEEDS, IT WILL GROW ON YA”
Happy planting! Start planning for your future food harvests and get yourself Good to Grow!