A GREAT DAY FOR THE IRISH AND FOR THE GARDEN Today, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and we can celebrate the occasion all month long by setting out a row or bed of Irish potatoes. Irish potatoes can be planted soon because they need 90 days , which will take them all the way to the beginning of dog days in July. If you plant them now, you will have time to replace them with a summer vegetable crop in July. Buy potato sets by the bag or pound at the local hardware or seed stores. You can choose from Yukon Gold, Red Pontiac, Kennebec or Irish cobbler. Plant whole potatoes and don’t cut them up to save money because in cold soil, the potatoes can rot or mold and you will be wasting money.
THREE DAYS UNTIL THE ARRIVAL OF SPRING The calendar may say spring is almost here, but the temperature does not. There is still plenty of cold days remaining even after spring arrives. We may have another snow or two before the back of winter breaks.
KEEPING A BALE OF GARDEN’S MAGIC POTION HANDY The cool soil in the garden plot needs a pep shot in early spring, by adding a layer of peat moss underneath every seed and plant in the garden. Peat moss improves the texture of soil and makes it retain moisture. This is a totally organic product and costs only less than ten dollars a bale, which is roughly three cubic feet. It is a great investment for every crop in the garden in every season of the year.
GETTING ROSE BUSHES READY FOR SPRING The roses are showing signs of life and dead growth. Remove all spent hips and blossoms from last season and pull back the layer of mulch. Now is a great time to apply a layer of liquid rose fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro to get the rose season off to a good start. March, especially as the month draws to an end, is a good time to plant new roses, such as the Knockout varieties, that don’t have tall canes and they come in a variety of colors.
TIME TO START SOME BIG BOY TOMATO PLANTS FROM SEED Spring is only three days away and the opportune time to stat a packet of Big Boy tomato seed so they will be ready to transplant to the garden plot in about six weeks. Start a packet of seed starting medium mixed according to directions on the package. mix enough medium and water to fill the pot and enough to cover the seed. Keep inside the house in a sunny, warm room. They will sprout in about six or seven days and develop two true leaves in ten to twelve days. At this stage, they are ready to transplant to individual pots. After filling pots with seed-starting medium, place the seedlings back in the warm, sunny room and keep them sprayed with a sprinkler bottle of water. Make sure that tomato containers are placed in a tray to prevent water damage to the table they are on, also it is wise to place a plastic trash bag under the tray. As April comes, on a warm day, place the tomato tray on the porch for sunshine but bring back in that evening. If the plants get too big before you desire to transplant to the garden, re transplant them to larger pots.
JEEPERS CREEPERS LISTEN TO THOSE PEEPERS! There is music down on the creek bank on a cool pre-spring evening as the frogs croaks out a spring melody. This is a sure sign that spring is definitely just around the corner. Another sign is the colorful and fragrant hyacinths that are on the scene for the arrival of spring, which is just a few days away.
QUICKIE VEGGIES FOR EARLY SPRING IN THE GARDEN in med-march, the garden soil is ready for several cool weather vegetables that provide a harvest long before the warm weather vegetables are ready. you can now set out onion sets, cabbage, broccoli and lettuce plants. Lettuce seed, radish seeds, mustard greens, kale and spinach can also be sown for cool weather success.
PREPARING BEDS OF SOIL FOR THE GROWING SEASON Getting raised beds ready for planting pays rich dividends with a little bit of soil prep and improvement during mid-March. You can add compost, leaf mulch, top soil, peat moss and dried grass clippings to the beds as well as composted manure. Till or stir these materials into the existing soil in the beds and allow a few rains to fall on it and then till or stir the beds again. Added peat moss will add tilth to the soil in these beds.
BUDS ARE FORMING ON THE DOGWOOD TREES The nights are still very cool and a nip of frost still hovers on late March morning, but hints that these events re now short-lived is the fact that there are buds on the dogwoods. The peaches are already in the process of blooming and plums are just a Little bit ahead of them. The aroma of the Carolina Jasmine is fragrant near the garden plot and the American violets are almost ready to bloom.
THE PANDA AND ASPARAGUS FERNS ARE SHOWING OFF!! These ferns are now enjoying a sunny location in the living room. During winter, they have had to be trimmed to promote growth. They look ready for spring and summer outside when temperatures warm up in mid-April.
A PALM SUNDAY AND EASTER WITHOUT DOGWOODS IN FULL BLOOM Sunday will be Palm Sunday and Easter comes a few weeks earlier this year, which means dogwood blooms will be later. Palm Sunday may also bring cooler temperatures as we begin to celebrate the holy week of Easter.
THE NEXT TWO DAYS ARE GOOD FOR CONTROLLING THE WILD ONION CROP Tomorrow and Saturday (march 18th and 19th) are ideal days to cut back wild onions on your lawn earlier with the weed eater or the mower. The moon sign will be in Leo these two days. Cutting the onions on this barren sign will not kill the onion but it will stunt their growth and also keep them under control.
BURPEE OFFERS A COLORFUL NEW SUNFLOWER The name of this new flower is “Crimson Blaze” and the colors are a combination of wine red with a border and inside border of gold. the center has over 600 tiny florets. it will reach a height of five to six feet and produce many flowers to fill your vases. A packet costs $5.95 and contains 25 seeds. A good way to grow them is to plant two seeds in small containers of seed starting medium and when they develop two leaved, transplant them to the flower bed row, or edge of the garden about two to three feet apart.
Ray Baird has been providing gardening tips to the community for years and can be reached at 336-969-9350 or at BSylvia1946@gmail.com.