Gardening Jobs for March

Gardening Jobs for March

Gardening Jobs in March

March is ‘busy season’. As soon as the sun comes out, and it’s warm (and dry) enough to be outside, every gardener itches to get their hands into the dirt again. But where to start?

 

Preparing the vegetable beds

Once the ground has thawed and dried off a bit, it’s time to get going with the preparations:

1) It is a good idea to get rid of the weeds early on (especially the perennial or biennial ones). They will be half the trouble later on.

2) If you haven’t done it yet, start tidying up the garden: dead-heading old flower heads and clearing everything that has died off. But, remember that butterfly larvae overwinter on old nettles and such. Nettles support some 40 species of insects and butterflies!

If fresh, you already have young nettles coming up, make the most of this wonderful early wild vegetable. Consider leaving some standing year-round for the wildlife, if you have a spot where they are not in the way.

3) Work in plenty of good, home-grown compost into the vegetable plots and prepare the soil to get a fine crumb. This will make it a lot easier for your seedlings to break through the crust.

What to sow in March?

Your sowing schedule largely depends on your growing zone and whether you have a suitable space to start seedlings indoors. If you live in a mild climate, you can sow some hardier, early varieties out in the open, as early as March. But frost-sensitive plants, like tomatoes, should be started indoors. Lettuce and radishes do well in a cold frame. The shorter your growing season, the earlier you need to start your seeds indoors on the windowsill. That way, they will get a head start, which prolongs the growing season. By the time there is no more danger of late ground frosts, they will have developed into little plants that are more resilient by the time you plant them out. 

 

Indoors or under glass

You can sow fennel, broccoli, kohlrabi, cabbage (early varieties), Savoy cabbage, Malabar spinach (late March), New Zealand spinach, carrots, autumn leeks, and celery either in the cold frame or indoors. Warmth-loving plants, like tomatoes, zucchini, aubergines and chillies, fennel, and bell pepper, do best when started indoors in an environment of about 20°C.

On sunny days, don’t forget to open the cold frame to give your seedlings some air – otherwise, they will get baked under the glass.

Most importantly, make sure your seedlings never dry, after sowing them. Water is life – they cannot grow without it.

Outdoors

Onion sets can be planted out in March. Beetroots, Swiss chard, lettuce, (also Asian lettuce, peas, rocket, radishes, and nasturtiums are all hardy enough to be sown directly into your well-prepared veggie plots. 

 

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies!

#Ads

Disclosure: I earn a small commission from affiliate links to help support the site.

Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox

Spring Equinox is here, and it is time to ponder the miraculous power of regeneration. Persephone has returned to the upper world and life has re-awakened. Buds are swelling, birds are singing, and flowers are bursting forth. There is joy and exuberance – despite the suffering and sorrow we must witness daily.

At the Spring Equinox, light and dark are hanging in the balance. But from now on, with every passing day, the sun gathers strength. Mother Earth, violated and scarred by war, yet again, still dons her spring garment and slowly turns the land lush and green.

 

Spring Equinox – Focus on what matters most

The garden is calling, and the soil is eager to receive the seeds. Are you tending a garden? What will you be growing this season?

The garden can be a physical space or a metaphorical one. The inner world is also a garden that needs attentive care, weeding, pruning and nurturing.

In the home, it is time to clear out the winter dust. Spring cleaning, painting, and decorating are on the agenda.

It is also time for inner cleansing. Nurture the spirit and the body by boosting your energy and vital spirit with fresh vitamins and nutrients of early spring herbs. When the body is strong, so is the mind!

 

Spring Equinox – Celebrate life

Get ready for the season, invite the sunshine in and make the most of these fleeting joys! Life becomes infinitely rich when we walk mindfully and celebrate each flower or butterfly.

Focus on what matters to you and make your intentions clear. Life is precious and short. The power to make your garden flourish lies in your hands. Use it.

The Spring Equinox is a time of new beginnings. Let’s celebrate the mysteries of rejuvenation and eternal return.

Gardening Jobs in February

Gardening Jobs in February

What kind of gardening jobs can there possibly be in February?

In the middle of February, I itch to get back into gardening. Granted, it’s early days, and there isn’t that much to do – but there is always something, even as early as February.∗

It is still winter, and the weather has been pretty wild and stormy, but I have spotted the first snowdrops, and even the first Winter Aconite is out! They are such a welcome sight – tentative signs that spring is on its way. Even though temperatures are far from balmy, Mother Earth is stirring…

It’s a botanical wake-up call. Suddenly, I feel restless, itching to do some gardening. But where to start, and what to do?

Crocus

(Crocus vernus)

The spring crocus is one of the most cherished spring flowers. Its flowers come in many different colors and to me, they are reminiscent of Easter Eggs – although Easter is still a long way away. It is the shape of the balloon-like flowers that create this association in my mind. Like the other early flowering plants, it too makes the most of dry sunny weather, to attract early pollinators, but close their flowers to protect their delicate parts as soon as cold or rainy weather is on the way.

Winter Aconite

(Eranthis hyemalis)

Like miniature suns, these golden stars warm the heart in early spring. Daringly, they open up fully to the first warming rays of the sun. But they are not stupid. As soon as the sky clouds over, they fold up their petals to keep their stamens and stigma protected and warm. While heart-warming and pretty to behold, it is good to remember that this is a Ranunculus species and all of its parts are poisonous.

Cyclamen

(Cyclamen coum)

Cyclamens are so cute! Their pink little flowers remind me of piglets, with the snout pointing down and their ears (petals) flying in the wind, so to speak. The dainty flowers appear to be ‘inside-out’, seemingly exposing their pollinating parts. But that isn’t actually the case. Their delicate stamens and sepals are sheltered inside the ‘snout’, which forms a tubular structure that protects them against the elements. 

Snowdrops

(Galanthus nivalis) 

These tender little flowers are the most daring of all! Long before other flowers wake up, this one has sent its spear-like flowers up, even piercing the snow, if necessary. Its bell-like dangles tenuously on the stem, protecting itself from the elements by facing the earth, rather than the sky, its petals sheltering the stamen and stigma. Snowdrops are heralds of hope at a time when winter is still raging. The message is clear. It’s early days yet, but spring IS on the way. Life will return…soon.

Indoor Gardening

 

Start some long-season plants indoors

I live in climate zone 7/8, so in February, gardening starts indoors. My house turns into a potting shed. I am not suggesting you should do the same. Maybe you are better organised. Perhaps you have a greenhouse or a heated cold frame where you can start the earliest seeds, protected from the cold.

If you live in northern latitudes, the growing season is limited. But you can extend it as far as possible by starting long-season plants, like chilli peppers or aubergines, in February indoors.

All you need are some starter trays and sterile starter soil that is not too nutrient-rich. It needs to be sterile so that your tender seedlings won’t have to compete for nutrients against random weeds whose seeds are lurking in the soil. This is especially important for slow-germinating seeds. Garden centres and DIY stores sell trays and starter soil, or you can make your own.

DIY seed trays

Those fancy seed trays make things a little easier: they often come with a clear plastic lid to prevent the moisture from evaporating. Sometimes, they even have a mechanism to open them without having to take the lid off. But you don’t really need that fancy stuff. It is easy to improvise by recycling your yoghurt pots, other plastic containers, or even empty milk cartons.

The right time

Here are the rules: 

  1. Start warmth-loving, long-season plants 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost in your area. 
  2. Water the seeds regularly with a watering sprayer to keep the soil moist, and if you use the DIY trays, cover them with cling film. 
  3. Place the starter trays in a bright, warm spot, and you should see the first seedlings pop up after 7-10 days, on average. 
  4. Don’t let the seedlings dry out! That would kill them! 
  5. Once all danger of frost has passed and soil temperatures have risen to about 15 °C/60 °F, you can begin hardening off your ‘babies’ before you transfer them to their permanent spots.
  6.  Harden off the plants by placing them outside during warm days and covering them at night.  

——————————————————————–

At least, this applies to those in the Northern Hemisphere who live in growing zones 7-8. Every climate zone is different, and you may have a microclimate, so take this as general guidelines – there are no guarantees.

You might also be interested in:

Garden Planning

How to plan a garden

Before you plant anything, try to really understand your garden.

Garden Planning for Success

Topiaria Gaudium

There is a strange fever going around. Strangely, it only affects gardeners: ‘Topiaria Gaudium Fever’. It is a special condition marked by high levels of excitement caused by the anticipation of the new gardening season.

what to sow in January

What to Sow in January

Here are some veggies you can sow (indoors or under glass) at the end of January (about 4 weeks before the last expected frost):

Outdoor Gardening Jobs

Once the snow has melted and the soil has dried off, it is time to get busy and prepare the beds.

Loosen the soil and get rid of any invasive weeds. (Some may well be edible!) Mix in some fresh compost. Beds that won’t be used immediately should be mulched. Let the soil settle until the temperatures are high enough to transfer your first seedlings or sow directly into the prepared bed.

Sowing directly into the soil

Sow hardy crops, such as peas, early varieties of radish, parsley, spinach, carrots, lettuce, and onion sets directly into the soil. If you are worried about late frosts, start them in a cold frame and wait to transfer them until the soil has warmed to about 15 °C.

Carrots and parsley can be slow to sprout. You can start them in a dish of wet sand. Leave the dish in the cold for about a week, then take it indoors, and you should see your carrots sprout quickly. Carrots and root parsley like loose and even soil. Prepare their permanent spot well. Mix sand and garden soil and sift them together to create light soil.

Potatoes

Towards the end of February, you can start ‘chitting’ your spuds. For best results, use seed potatoes. Lay them out in egg cartons and put them in a sunny spot on the windowsill, with the side with the most ‘eyes’ facing up. Let them sprout for 5-6 weeks before planting them out.

Wait until early March or April, before sowing less hardy crops.

To avoid all your plants being ready for harvest at once, you can sow successively with a 10-day interval for a longer season.

Happy gardening!

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies and Shop for Organic Vegetable Gardening Books.

Disclosure: The links to outside resources and books are affiliate links from which I earn a small commission to support this website.

 

Imbolc Awakenings

Imbolc Awakenings

Imbolc, the return of the light

Winter is still with us, although is now entering a moody phase. One day it is frosty, stormy, and inhospitable, and a couple of days later the sun pops out to tease us. But there is one sure sign that things are beginning to shift, ever so slightly – the days are beginning to get noticeably longer again.

Imbolc is the season of the light maiden Brighid, a virginal Goddess, who appears to us as the returning light. As the sun climbs just a tad higher in the sky, it adds a few minutes of light to each passing day.

Nevertheless, it is still the middle of winter. But, if you look carefully, the buds are beginning to swell. Some precocious little flowers defy all the odds. Some particularly perky ones are pushing their way through the snow, or old leaves:  snowdrops, winter aconite or dwarf crested irises are among the earliest and bravest. Unmistakably, the life force deep within the earth is stirring. Last season’s seeds are preparing to germinate. The wheel of the year is turning, and the sap is rising once more.

Purification and Fasting

Imbolc, or ‘Candlemas’ in Christian terminology, is the festival of growing light, of cleansing, and purification. It prepares us for Lent, the time of abstinence and fasting intended to purify body and soul.

In the past, fasting was a way of cleansing the body of the residues of heavy winter foods. Spiritually, it is an act of mindfulness and a way to prepare the body and mind for the spring and a new cycle of growth.

Envisioning the future

Imbolc is a time for visualizing in your mind’s eye the possibilities that lie ahead. Some people use divination, others use affirmations. Take some time out to prepare yourself for the challenges and opportunities yet to come. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses, on good and bad habits, and make a commitment to your soul’s journey.

What kind of nourishment does your soul need? What are your intentions and purpose? How do you want to give back to life?  Are you walking your talk?

Imbolc is a good time to charge the seeds with intention and to foster your inner flame. Take care of that light through the dark of the night. Soon the sun will soon rise and grow strong again.

 

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice, may your light shine bright!

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. The trees have lost their leaves, and all signs of life have retreated below ground. Frozen in time, the land lies barren. Barely rising above the horizon, the Sun only sends a few feeble rays of light. The birds have left on their long journey to milder climes. The Earth has entered hibernation mode.

And yet, we find cause to rejoice at these darkest times! Deep within the Earth, a tiny light is born! Fragile as a baby in its crib, the sun-saviour god returns.

We are on the threshold of a new cycle, not yet sure if the baby will grow. But where there is life; there is hope.

In the old days, the 12 days of Christmas marked a time, when the veil between the worlds is thin, and spirits pass through. The same is true of the 12 days around the summer solstice. Otherworldly beings are visiting us from beyond.

The Solstice is a time of reflection, of cherishing memories, and of gratitude.

It may not have been an easy year, but there are always things to be grateful for, and hope is on the horizon.

During this quiet space, we reflect on gratitude; on love and care, and on being there for one another. We dream about our ambitions for the year ahead and how to make things better.

The Winter Solstice marks a turning point with the promise of a new dawn.

Count your blessings and celebrate hope. The wheel of time is turning, and the light is returning. Let us cherish and protect this tiny flame of hope. When its fire grows stronger, life once more returns to Earth.

Samhain

Samhain

At Samhain, the Goddess retreats into the deep vault of the earth to join her dark lover in the Underworld. Life withdraws, and the landscape turns bleak, cold, and grey. The last fruits, nuts and berries still hang in the bushes, but most are gone. Few flowers withstand the season’s call until the frost kills them off. The birds have left on their journey to the south.
It is a melancholy time, but also a time to turn inward.

We mark this season by remembering those who have gone before us. Death is but a stage of the wheel of life. Far below the surface, the Goddess sheds her wilted gown. Throughout the winter months, she remains in deep meditation as she regenerates her vitality.

We face the cold and darkness as the Sun’s power wanes. Few of its rays can still warm us, and the days grow shorter.

Life and death are aspects of the same eternal cycle. There is no light without darkness, no life without death. Use this time to reflect and remember, to cherish the good and to let go of all that is worn and that wears you down. Concentrate your inner strength in contemplation – for soon, the wheel of the year will turn, and the Sun will be reborn.

Autumn Equinox

Autumn Equinox

Happy Autumn Equinox!

On the Autumn Equinox, night and day are equal. Light and dark are in perfect equilibrium. The Equinox marks the end of the harvest season. We celebrate the gifts of the Earth and give thanks. Gratitude is the magic power of this time. From now until the Winter Solstice, the vital energy begins its retreat below ground. The days are getting shorter; summer is over.

The end of the summer is often intensely busy with hunting for nuts and mushrooms, preserving the gifts of the Earth and preparing for the coming winter.
Stock up the larder and pile up the wood high and dry so supplies will see you through the winter. Spring Equinox is a long way off.

Image by Sabrina Ripke from Pixabay

Lughnasad – Harvest Time

Lughnasad – Harvest Time

The time of the grain harvest

Lughnasad marks the beginning of the harvest season. The fruit and vegetables are ripening, and the grain has turned golden. It is usually an intensely busy and happy time, especially for gardeners. The efforts of the early part of the year are paying off. But not this year.

The growing period, from spring to late summer, is fraught with danger. Late frosts can kill sensitive starts, or summer storms may ruin a crop in just a few minutes. A good harvest is always hoped for, but never guaranteed. This year, Lugh has been fierce. Countless wildfires have caused terrible devastation, scorched landscapes and draughts. Others have been flooded and pelted by hail the size of hand grenades. We need the Sun’s warmth and light and without water, there is no life.

 

Lughnasad or Lammas, in the Christian tradition, marks the beginning of the harvest season. The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘hlaf-mas’, meaning ‘loaf mass’. Bread and wine are the traditional sacraments of the Eucharist.

 

But harvesting the seeds is only one stage of the perpetual cycle of life. Ideally, the harvest should sustain and nourish us through the winter, when the Earth is barren and still. It must also yield enough to provide the seeds we need to start the cycle again next year. We reap as we sow, but we also sow what we reap.

Facing the unravelling climate catastrophe, we are grateful for anything we can harvest today. But we must change our practices and live more sustainably if we want this cycle to continue and provide for our children and children’s children.

We can no longer afford to ignore the changes that are taking place. We are facing an existential threat – unless we act now. The future potential for our species and life as we know it, lies in our hands.

The future starts now.

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice

On the Summer Solstice, the Sun reaches the zenith of its annual journey. We celebrate the longest day and shortest night. It is a magical time: nature is blossoming. The veil between the worlds is thin: sprites and spirits easily cross between them and we may even catch a glimpse of the little folk.

The young Sun-God Bel has climaxed, and his powers are beginning to wane. Lugh is taking over the reign. He will ripen the fruits of the earth and transform the Sun’s power into sugar and starch that will sustain us through the dark half of the year.

At the Summer Solstice, we honour the Gods and offer rituals and prayers. We ask for protection, health, and sustenance.

But most of all, it is a time of gatherings and celebrations, of revelling around bon fires, and of dancing, feasting, and merry-making.

The herbs are now at their most potent, and we should gather our annual supplies.

Spiritually, it is a time to seek guidance by divination or retreat on a vision quest to hold counsel with the gods.

Happy Beltane!

Happy Beltane!

Happy Beltane!

On May 1, we celebrate Beltane, the festival of spring.
Mother Earth is donning her lushest gown of flowers and blossoms, and birds are singing from the trees. The heart rejoices, and the spirit soars!

Beltane is the season of blossoming fertility, joy, abundance and creativity-we celebrate the sheer miracle of life in all its beauty.

The God and the Goddess embody the undying force of life, and they are in love. Nature mirrors their bliss. Their dance turns the land green and lush with every step. Every fragrant flower is a kiss and a blessing, a sign of their adoration.

We are invited to join them and share in their passion. Let’s celebrate the life! Beauty, love, and merry-making are their rituals, and this energy is tangible.

Gardeners witness and partake in this magic as they nurture young seedlings. But even if you don’t have a garden, you can still participate – just tend to your inner garden! Pour energy into your budding projects, and you will experience a similar phenomenon – the magic of creativity.

The secret ingredient of manifestation is the love and nurture with which we tend to our seed ideas.
Take the time to reflect on Mother Nature’s generosity, and practice gratitude and mindfulness to attune to every nuance of this blessed season.

Photo credit: Image by Ronny Overhate from Pixabay

Pin It on Pinterest