March Edible Gardening Tips
Parent Category: Growing
Created on Saturday, 12 March 2011 19:10
Written by Kathy Morse, WSU Master Gardener
OOPS! Not spring-like yet - this cold and wet spell we had has gotten us working on our patience! On 3/4/11 my soil temp was hovering between 35 and 40 degrees but we have had a nicer weekend so it should start to come up now. According to the chart below (from http://naturalgardening.blogspot.com) about the only things that will germinate at these low
temps are spinach and lettuce, and with our very wet soils that might not even happen. If you are frustrated, join the club. All you can do is build a hoop house (plans were discussed last month
) and let the soil both warm up and dry up some so as not to rot the seeds. A soil thermometer is a nifty gadget and can be bought locally at nurseries or ordered online.
Please note the green indicator - the most practical temp for planting! Keep your eye on the thermometer for warmer soil temps. Realize also that for some temps planting them in the ground might mean they may not have enough time to mature. You might need to start them inside or buy from a vendor.
Indoors or in a cold frame, onions, peas and broccoli can be started in pots. Rig up a simple cold frame with some plywood and an old window frame to control the temp and moisture of the
potted soil, but keep an eye on it so it doesn't get too hot or dry - open some during the day if not raining and close at night. Or just wait until the Farmers' Markets opens to buy starts from your favorite vendors. A heat mat and grow lights will allow you to plant many seeds. Some warm weather veggies can be started now but only using the mat and light - use the chart to see what temps to put the heat mat at for germination of things like tomatoes.
For outdoor work, pruning fruit trees and grapes and weeding are about the only things to do except wait. Digging in cold wet soil is not good for the soil so have patience!
Mason bees are stirring in their cocoons and will come out when the temps are around 50 degrees to pollinate your fruit trees. Put up new, clean houses/tubes for them and put in a new location if you have been bothered by mites.
Plan on attending the Peninsula Fruit Club Spring Grafting Show on March 26th from 11-5pm at the Silverdale Community Center. Get your fruit questions answered, buy rootstock and scion wood, make a tree, learn about pests and diseases and stock up on footies and other supplies.