Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? What a perfect time to get your vegetable gardens ready to plant your edibles. If you are using raised beds, get them built now or check and make sure they are in good shape. If you have multiple beds and they are irrigated, I suggest having a separate shut off valve for each bed. The beds are often in different stages of use and there is no sense wasting water if you can shut off the water to any bed not needing it.
If you are in a temporary location, don’t have building skills or just want to try something different, try planting in a straw bale. You will need about two weeks to prep the bale for planting. First make sure you put them in the exact spot you want them because they will start to get too heavy to move.
The sheared side needs to be pointed up, with the twine sides facing outwards. It should be well watered daily and fertilizer added the first day and then about every other day. Both of these will start the decomposition process, which creates heat, so you must wait for it to cool down to your ambient temperature before you can plant. A compost thermometer can be used to check the temperature. If you don’t have one, a meat thermometer should do. Then have fun planting, using a trowel to create planting spaces. Since there will be less soil and therefore less nutrients available, you should add fertilizer periodically through the growing process.
Plant tomatoes. When picking your seedlings, look for vibrant green leaves on a plant that is wider than it is tall. Gently slide the plant from the container to check the health of the roots, making sure they are bright white and not thickly matted. Plant young plants deep to get the best root development. Snap off the lower sets of leaves and plant deep enough so that you leave the remaining leaves above ground. If you haven’t yet discovered Tomatomania, go to one of their events near you. They sell so many different kinds of tomatoes, you are sure to find the perfect ones for your garden.
Build a compost wall. It can serve multiple purposes by being a space divider as well as a place to get rid of larger branches, twigs, etc. Insects and other small creatures will be attracted to it and it is a wonderful living lesson for children.
Descanso Gardens has planted thousands of bulbs and they are all starting to come out. What a lovely and relaxing way to join with others strolling about the gardens and learning about what is in bloom at this time.