Monthly Archives: March 2010

New Blog URL

I recently “upgraded” the blog to having its very own url. The new address is Spiffy, huh?

I’ve noticed that Google Reader is being rather slow about updating new posts (like 8 hours slow), so I changed my feed to the new url. We’ll see if that helps. If you are using a feed reader, you might try updating your subscription to the new address as well.

Getting Started in the Family of 4 Garden

Yesterday was our first work day out in the Demo Garden. It was beautiful yesterday, and we had lots to accomplish. I’ll be posting about several of the different things we did throughout the week.

One of our priorities was getting the Family of 4 garden started for the spring.

We started out by cleaning up all the weeds and working in the straw remnants from last year.

Then we worked in compost, followed by a very low rate of fertilizer. Our soil test last year indicated that we didn’t need phosphorus and potassium – just nitrogen. The compost and organic matter will probably provide the necessary nitrogen later on, but right now the soil is so cold that some extra nitrogen and phosphorus is going to help our little seedlings.

Then we had to mark out what was going to be planted where. We discovered that we were maybe a little over-zealous in trying to fit things into the garden this year, so I think the onions may get dropped from our planting plan. (For that reason and the fact that I forgot to go buy any plants.)

We planted Cherriete and Easter Egg Radishes, Tyee Spinach, and Wildfire Lettuce Mix on the south end of the garden. We also planted some more radishes and transplanted some leftover lettuce from the garden show into the area where we will have tomatoes in May. No reason to leave that space empty!

Checking Soil Temperatures

One of the things that I talk about a lot when I’m teaching basic vegetable gardening classes is that the soil temperature is actually more important to plant growth than the air temperature. In many cases, plants will still grow well with cold air temperatures if the soil is nice and warm.

Since I preach that you should plant based on the soil temperature, I thought I’d run out to the garden and check out our soil temperatures. We’re planning to plant some radishes, lettuces, cabbage, etc. tomorrow. I know you can’t see the picture to the left very easily…the glare of the sun was very annoying. If you can read the screen of the digital thermometer, it says 43 degrees. So…not quite the 45 degrees we would like to see, but probably warm enough, given that we are going to have some nice warm, sunny days this week.

Also on the schedule for tomorrow:

  • Pruning the grapes, berries, and apple trees.
  • Raking mulch/leaves out of the strawberries. Tilling rows into the strawberries?
  • Incorporating compost and fertilizers into the various beds.
  • Weeding!
  • Planting seeds
  • Replacing signs
  • Anything else we come up with between now and tomorrow morning.

Talkin’ ’bout the Weather

One of the great things about having a gardening blog is that you can talk about the weather without it being merely a social nicety. The weather is actually interesting – and vital – to gardeners. Well…as long as you don’t belabor it too much. After hearing from the same people year after year that “the weather was bad for tomatoes this year,” you get a bit suspicious as to whether it was really the weather or perhaps something else contributing to the problem…

Anyway, that’s not what I was intending to talk about in this post. If you’ve been watching the local weather, you’ve probably heard once or twice…an hour…for the last few days that we’re supposed to get about 3″ of snow over the weekend. The low for Saturday is supposed to be in the upper 20s. Then the questions start. What about my ____ that is growing? I just planted _____ seeds. What to do?

If you are concerned about your spring flowers or other plants that are starting to grow…there’s really nothing to worry about. They will be just fine with the blanket of snow over them.

If you’ve planted some seeds, don’t worry! The soil and snow will keep them insulated from the cold. Just don’t go planting your cabbage this afternoon. Wait until next week, and all will be fine.

Looking at the trees and other plants that are slowly starting to show signs of spring, it seems like things are about 2 to 2 1/2 weeks behind the average right now. So trees that might usually be in bloom right now aren’t, and the cold weather won’t hurt them.

Although we are all looking forward to more spring, I’m not going to complain too much about the trees being behind. Maybe our peach trees will escape a damaging frost this year! I really want some good peaches this summer.

Hot off the Press – the Kansas Garden Guide!

I got a present in the mail today that is pretty exciting!

Isn’t it gorgeous? It has been a long time in the process, but we finally have a brand new, March 2010 Kansas Garden Guide! This is a must-have resource if you are a Kansas vegetable gardener. If you want to have your very own copy, there are two options.

  1. You can view or download your very own 80 page PDF file here: Kansas Garden Guide
  2. You can stop by the Sedgwick County Extension Office (or your local office) and purchase your very own, full color, glossy copy for $5.75. (includes sales tax)