Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Veggie Garden Update-March 2010

From In the Garden
March is a big time for the vegetable garden because it is the month we usually ramp up the planting and get ready for the growing season. In order to get ready to plant there are a few tasks that are best completed.

Here in my vegetable garden I have: spread compost over all beds except the one that had manure added to it last fall (I had five wheelbarrows full of finished compost-woohoo!), mulched all of the beds with paper bags and/or hay, put the tomato cages in place in preparation for planting the tomatoes (May), cleaned up loose leaves and begun planting.

What have I planted you ask? Well, the lettuce is mostly in place. I planted starts of bibb lettuce and red lettuce. I have a flat of seedling lettuce in the greenhouse just waiting until the right time to plant out. The plan is to grow vining crops over the lettuce in hopes the shade will make the lettuce last longer this summer (you can see the edge of the A-frame in place and ready for bushel gourds and cucumbers). Mr. Fix-it loves salads so we are hoping for a bumper crop this year; which will hopefully make up for last year's dismal crop of everything.
I found room for red cabbage next to the dormant banana trees. The Jimster loved the cabbage I grew a few years ago. It was really easy to grow but some years it is picky and does not do so well. We shall see how it does this year and if it can mature before the cabbage loopers move in.
I have also planted the peas (not shown) in two thickly sown rows of two different kinds of peas. I purchased new seeds this year after remembering that almost none of my old pea seeds sprouted last year. So far the new seeds have been in the ground eight days and have not shown up yet, but I'll give them a few more days. The sun might help by warming up the soil a bit and we are finally expecting an appearance by the sun this Friday-yahoo!

The lettuce seedlings I planted last fall finally succumbed to the cold. Sigh. It's okay because the Chinese cabbage (green patch in the above pictured coldframe) and turnip greens (in front of the coldframe) are looking very healthy and happy. I'll be harvesting them soon. I've read that Chinese cabbage can be eaten as greens so that will be a new experience and one I hope that tastes good. The plants sure look great! They have not been bothered by the cold or pests.

You might notice the bales of hay in the above picture. A friend gave me three bales of hay that she had sitting in her front yard all winter. The hay is nicely aged and very heavy. My plan is to cut a few holes in the bales, add soil and compost and plant peppers and zucchini in the hay bales. I've heard this method works well because the hay holds so much water and really makes a nice medium for roots to grow into. If the hay bales work well then it will be a boon for my vegetable garden. Hay bales can be placed in a very sunny spot and do not take up valuable bed space so I'm excited about being able to fit more vegetables into my small vegetable garden (approximately 24'x 20' oddly shaped garden). Has anyone else planted hay bales before and if so how did it work?

What are you plans for growing vegetables this year? Any lessons learned from last year's vegetable gardening? Tips for making it better this year?

in the garden....

Happy St. Pat's Day today-be sure to wear your green!

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team,

In the Garden


  1. Good morning Tina ~ Your veggie garden looks great and I'm really impressed with what you are doing and with what you will have. I look forward to seeing pictures as your garden progresses through the season.


  2. Tina,
    Happy St Patty's Day!
    Your garden looks like a fun place to hang out. Our peas have been in longer than yours and are currently no show. Our fall lettuce which barely came up is still here. yeah!

  3. Very nice! I've never heard about the hay method.
    We won't be doing anything until next month and that will be tilling, I'm hoping for good compost.

  4. One of my co-workers did the hay bale garden with pretty good success. I don't have enough room or sun at home, but keep a plot in a small community garden at work. It is choked with weeds and last years mater vines. I dread getting it ready, but it is time.

  5. Good morning all!

    Flowerlady, Thanks! I hope it does well this year.

    Randy, I'm holding out hope though I expect I'll be digging down today to find out if the peas even sprouted. I think they should be up by now. 7-10 days normally?

    Dawn, Looking forward to seeing what you do with the veggie garden this year. It looked great last year.

    Les, I've heard good things about the hay. It sounds so cool. I don't blame you for dreading the cleanup. If only gardens would care for themselves. Ha!

  6. You'll be eating fresh veggies in no time at all! -- Randy

  7. Happy St. Patty's Day to you, looks like you are getting the veggie garden in high gear. I did cabbage a couple years and the cabbage loopers were pretty thick. Finally gave up on space.
    Chinese cabbage is good raw or cooked. Hope you like it. The only thing I am growing this year is herbs (that I will take with me) and the fall lettuce that is still producing. I do need to get the garden cleared of tomato vines and cages.

  8. I have heard of hay bale gardening. I think someone I know tried tomatoes, but I can't remember the outcome.

    I learned to drive on a tractor, mowing and raking (into a chevron pattern) the oats to get the field ready for the baler! My father and I grew our own hay for the horses.

  9. Hi Tina! You have been busy! We have had some nice sunny days, and are back to rain again. At least I got some tomato seeds planted in the greenhouse yesterday so we shall see. I have heard of people planting potatoes in hay bales. I would have to put a fence around my hay bales since any time the chickens see a hill they go straight for it!
    I have some of the hollyhock seeds you sent coming up. I hope they make it!

  10. I may have to try the hay bale idea. It sounds pretty neat. I think I have spinach starting to come up now and the lettuce seeds are probably read to germinate if they haven't already. Let's hope for some sun soon!

  11. Good morning. Have you ever tried the inoculants on your legume seeds? I've heard people say it really helps, especially in the early spring when seeds can rot in the ground before sprouting.

    I have my lettuce seeds ready to plant but it's still too early here.

  12. Good Morning everyone! Cloudy day here in GA, sigh...

    I picked up a few herb seeds and plan to get them into the ground this weekend. I already scattered gourd seeds in the old veggie garden. I am also going to try to grow sunflowers this year in the old garden. There is still room for one more frost for us but I think all will be okay at this point to plant. Our plan is to be working in the gardens and yard all weekend but as we know, plans do change at times….

    I have my green shirt on today so no pinching by any one for me. I will be doing the pinching, hee hee…

  13. Wow, you have a lot going on already! I'm curious how the hay bale planting will work out--it sounds interesting. The only veggies I have here are garlic chives and rosemary, which I'm overwintering inside, LOL!

  14. Many thanks for the fantastic photos. So, spring is making its way through your garden. Nothing like fresh lettuce for an 'al fresco' lunch. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  15. Great plans, Tina! The haybale method sounds really interesting. I'll be looking forward to seeing it in action. Love your cold frame setup. Did Mr. Fix-it build it for you? You're way ahead of me right now. The garden has just been plowed so I'm hoping to go up there today and get my peas in. I have everything planned out on paper though and I dying to get my hands dirty. :) Hope your peas come up.

  16. Marnie, I've not tried inoculants but will look into them this year. I've heard of them though. Good idea!

    Lzyjo, No, I build the coldframe. Mr. Fix-it is usually busy working on cars while I putter with wood but it all works out. Planning is half the battle so it sounds like you are there.

  17. I love how your vegetable garden is set up. You have a lot going on!

    The bale hay idea sounds great. One yr. I had a bag of leaves & had just laid it down to move later--well that never happened. The next Spring I discovered one day that a lone mustard had come up in it. I just let it grow. It got to about 5' & it was delicious. Sometimes volunteer work much better.
    So far I've transplanted dwarf citrus trees, planted carrots, leeks,radishes, kala robi, beets, bush beans, potatoes {they are up} & Swiss chard {both red & white}.
    I had planned on doing some more gardening but, yep, you guessed it. It rained again & is now too wet. At least my newly planted seeds got watered in good. Yippee.
    Have a super day all.

  19. Looks like you're all set for a good season of gardening. I really like the a frames you have set up. It's exciting to get the veggie beds all ready in anticipation of seeing it full of food soon. The only things sprouted so far for me are the tomatoes I started indoors. The seeds outside haven't germinated yet.

  20. I have never heard of planting in a bale of hay but it sounds very interesting and I may try it this year for a few big things so I can free up more room in the garden as I never seem to have enough room. I did plant potatoes in tires last year and it work reall good. Most people and me included seem to pick tomatoes as the fav in a veggie garde but oh boy I would be hard pressed to put those potatoes over the maters.

  21. I love the information in this post. I am going to try my hand a veggie gardening this year. Keep posting updates, I'm learning a lot! Carla

  22. No veggie plans this year...I'm mostly a flower girl. BUT, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the veggie garden! Yours is looking good for March. I'm sorry about your lettuce, though. Re. the hay bail idea...I love it! Imagine what a fantastic fall display it would make with mums inside!!! Please let me know how it works for your veggies.

  23. Very impressive and ambitious !
    Love your cool-frame and block work...wish I was that neat.

  24. Just found your site. Spring fever has hit and I'm enjoying everyone's plans. We have raised vegetable beds built out of cement blocks. Just build a new one last Saturday. Can't wait to plant.

  25. Happy Celebrations!!!! Deary..... I loved the greenery around... And those pics are so bright & beautiful.... Loved the veggies in your garden...... May u reap many more...... Forget the ones that are gone.... I know it hurts.... but life continues with its share of happiness... :-) CHEERS!!!!


  26. WooHoo! Veggies! It's my first year with veggies too and I have two tomato varieties coming up. I'm oh so excited!
    Good luck with all your veggies, Tina :)
    I also have a Q about Sugar Melon. Does it transplant well or should I sow it in situ?

  27. Your garden looks and sounds fabulous Tina. Interesting idea to grow vines around the lettuce to make it last longer. I can't wait to see how that works.

  28. Interesting about the hay bales Tina. I've never heard of growing veggies in them before. I hope it works for you ~ I'll be following your experiment!! Hope your peas show up soon too. I planted some last week ~ no sign yet either.

  29. Hi Tina - thanks for visiting my post about winter aconite. So nice to "meet" you. Very inspiring post on veggie gardening - I love the triangular bed - very fun. I'm excited to veggie garden for the second year this year. I got kids clamoring for grape tomatoes. Yum.