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checking in on the garden: March 2016

Sweet Potato Plant March 2016 paintedposies.com

Hi! How’s your spring starting out? We’ve had some unpredictable weather so far this season, but I think a lot of the US has, so I won’t complain.  At least there’s no snow.  And it’s sort of fitting, because this year has been a little unpredictable for us personally.  I’ll get into that in a different post, but for now, I wanted to share what’s going on in our garden.  It’s been a while since I’ve made a garden update, but I sort of like the idea of focusing on life and growth for a moment.

We got some cooler weather after unseasonable highs, and I think the plants and seeds growing right now are slightly confused.  It’s also encouraged a massive white fly infestation that I’m trying not to get too uptight about.  Sometimes just letting things be while you can is the best approach.  I remember when I first started our garden, getting so uptight about what to do about bugs that I ended up making things worse.  I’ve grown accustomed to some sort of insect infestation being the norm.  That’s basically what organic gardening is all about anyway, right?  And besides, it’s not like blight or the dust bowl or anything, so no sense losing my patience over it all.

Garden March 2016 paintedposies.comBaby Tomatoes March 2016 paintedposies.comRed Bell Peppers March 2016 paintedposies.comOrange and Yellow Bell Peppers March 2016 paintedposies.comYellow Peppers March 2016 paintedposies.comPea Flowers March 2016 paintedposies.comPeas March 2016 paintedposies.comSeedlings March 2016 paintedposies.comGarden March 2016 paintedposies.com

In the garden, there are four bell pepper varieties. One is the old plant from previous garden posts (here, here and here), and another year-old mini yellow variety called “miniature yellow bell.” The others are “orange sun” and “red knight.”  The tomatoes came up on their own, so no telling what they are.  I’m guessing seeds fell from rotting fruit last year and incubated all winter? I did an Early Girl variety and some others, so no telling which ones came up.  I planted seeds of a baby snack size and bush type cucumber in February, along with some okra seeds harvested from years ago which may be too old, but we’ll find out. They haven’t come up yet, though.  There are snap peas ready for harvest, and three smaller plants growing from seeds I also planted in February.  The basil got frost bitten over the winter and is trying to make a run for it, but it’s pretty leggy and pathetic. The lettuce I planted last fall is finally flowering and I’m waiting for seed.  The carrot greens are the victim of the white fly infestation, turning them to dust, but the carrots themselves seem like they are getting bigger – although it’s hard to tell since they’re underground and all. I planted a couple corn kernels in February also, they are doing great but are being smothered by a nearby tomato plant that appears to be on steroids. I planted some hot peppers that are very slow-growing, just a couple inches tall so far and it’s been two months. I’m waiting for kale to go to seed, and there are a total of four unidentified tomato plants growing on their own.  Thyme is still growing from years ago, and I’ve got chives growing in a pot I forgot I’d planted snapdragon seed in at some point. Finally, there’s dill growing from seed, planted with all the other seed in February.

Roses 2 March 2016 paintedposies.comHanging Basket March 2016 paintedposies.comFlowers March 2016 paintedposies.comWildflower Babies March 2016 paintedposies.comWildflower Seedlings March 2016 paintedposies.comAloe Bloom March 2016 paintedposies.com

There are a lot of flowers happening right now, too! After so many years of training and teaching myself how to prune them, the roses are doing great. Still a little leggy on the vining Don Juan, but I expect that since they’re still learning. Check out the rose care post I did a while back here if you want some tips and my Instagram for close-ups. I had to prune back the lavender in between the rose bushes because it was getting crazy big, so I chopped it up good and saved the branches to dry and make infused oil with.  I planted wildflower seeds in February when I did the garden, and those are coming up in the pots I put them in.  The snapdragons reseeded themselves in their pots (so obedient!) as did the vincas.  The elephant’s ear made a full recovery from this heartbreak, and they are tempting me to put them in the ground. I created my own hanging baskets after seeing that Home Depot was selling theirs for $25 a pop (mine were 11 bucks each!). I put petunias and marigolds in them, and a tall flower with a forgotten name that looks like it’s on the way out.  The tiger’s aloe that I ignore is flowering again.  SO pretty! The first picture in this post is of the sweet tomato vine that my MIL gave me to transplant.  It’s a happy little plant now that the ugly frozen bits have grown out. Sunflower seeds planted in pots are showing me that it was a mistake to put them in pots in the first place, because they’re definitely going to be too tall for all that.  I may transplant them? I’m not sure, since that seems like it would be a bad idea somehow.

Overall, spring is gifting us an abundance that I’m so grateful for right now.  I’m hoping for a killer tomato crop this year with second-season plants coming in, and I’m looking forward to sunflowers and wildflowers to cheer this place up in the coming month.

Are you planting anything yet? And if you’re on an opposite schedule than us, how is your garden doing? I love to hear your tips and tricks, so please send them in!

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