One of the Joys of Maturity
The Old Guy's Garden Record
The idea for Senior Gardening came about from frequent postings I made about our garden on another web site I maintain. The idea was to create a place where folks could share garden lore via blogs and forums. While I'm still struggling a bit with the software that will eventually make that possible on senior-gardening.com, I thought I'd at least put up a record of our 2008 garden in part from those postings, loosely edited, from the other site.
One way to beat the winter blues is to get some plants started inside to set out into the garden and flower beds when it warms up. It really doesn't take a lot to grow plant starts indoors, just a warm spot in a sunny windowsill or under a good shoplight. I started with petunias today, planting some trailing varieties for hanging pots and some bedding types. They're sitting under a clear plastic cover, as some require light to germinate, on a plant rack I built years ago. There's also a heat pad underneath to supply bottom heat, as my basement isn't all that warm. Tomorrow, I'll get some onions started. They're a chore to transplant, but growing your own transplants from seed is cheaper than buying onion plants, and you have more varieties to choose from in seed than from the plants offered in garden stores.
I still consult my venerable copy of Crockett's Victory Garden for guidance on when to plant what. Although all are long out of print, Crockett's Victory Garden, Crockett's Indoor Garden, and Crockett's Flower Garden are still the best volumes I have on gardening. Fortunately for others, they're still available used at a very reasonable prices through Amazon.
Even though it's only March, the outside garden is beginning to show some signs of life. Garlic planted last November is emerging despite continuing spells of freezing weather. It won't be ready until mid-summer, but it's good to see something sorta green pushing through our garden soil. When I checked my notes, I saw that two years ago I tilled the garden around March 1. With the cold, sleet, and continuing snow we've had, it will be quite a while before I can till this year.
Seedlings started last month have also germinated inside under plant lights (and for some, over a heating pad). Onion, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and many flowers (petunias for hanging pots) are underway on the plant rack in our basement. It's still too early for things like tomatoes, melons, and squash in our climate zone. I'll seed them inside late this month.
If you plan on starting transplants for your summer garden or flower bed, it definitely is time, almost past time, to get started. Garden stores will soon have seed packets displayed, although you can get a much better selection via one of the many excellent mail order seed houses.
Gardening in March is mostly an indoor activity in this area (southwest central Indiana). Heavy rains yesterday put parts of the garden and adjoining field underwater again. My garlic (pictured at right from drier days last week) is the section flooded in the photo above. The garlic seems to recover each time.
I have lots of stuff under plant lights ready to go into the outdoor cold frame once I get a new plastic cover on the it. Broccoli, onions, and some hanging baskets with trailing petunias in them are just waiting for me to get with it!
As I move stuff out to the cold frame making space available under my plant lights, I continue repotting small plants where I got too many seeds in a cell. I also plant successive crops of lettuce and broccoli for later transplanting.
Several weeks ago, I discovered that my plot I thought I'd prepared for spring peas wasn't in the shape I'd thought it was. I found way too many weeds had gotten started on the spot I'd tilled, so I tried something "a little different."
Years ago when I had a farm, our first garden there went into ground that I scalped with the mower, covered with mulch, newspaper, and black plastic, and planted through holes cut in the layers. Lacking free mulch at this time of year, I bought some cheap, bagged top soil and some very expensive sphagnum peat moss as a cover. I put landscape fabric over a bit of ground for a flowerbed, but put the pea seed right onto the ground and covered it with the topsoil and peat.
I had to spot spray some dandelions last week with Roundup, but otherwise, it appears the trick is working. I gently uncovered some of the pea seed and it appears to be germinating nicely!
Since I mentioned the farm above, I thought I'd share a few shots I scanned for a friend a few years ago. The friend needed some farm shots of pigs for a classroom project, and since she knew I'd once been a hog farmer, asked me if I had any. The sow on the left is Leslie, our first purebred Duroc on the farm. She was a great mama. Later, we added a purebred Duroc boar named Gogo (actual registered name: "Go Get Her" :-). Leslie and Gogo were practically pets on our farm. That may be part of why I'm no longer a farmer!
at Senior Gardening