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March in the Northern and Central Midwest..

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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/1/2011, 3:57 pm

Yuppers, it's here. March already!! Won't be long before a lot of us need these... Cool

But, in the meantime, what are you doing this month?

Frost dates obviously vary greatly in this region. But, I am attempting to cheat them, and by taking this challenge have learned so much from my experimentation, failures, and the constant help from the people around this forum.

I set up my hoops a couple of weeks ago, and am glad I did. I needed those two weeks to learn how the hoophouse will behave with and without sunshine, on cold nights, and just how severely it can heat up with a bit of a pop in air temps. Now, I feel ready to go.

So, I took the plunge. With my HH setup, I am supposedly able to get a full zone to a zone and a half of benefit from the plastic covering. That bumps my frost date back about 15-16 days. Being that cooler season veggies like broccoli, lettuce, spinach, and others can be set out a little earlier than frost dates, I decided to do so today. Last night was hopefully our last severe freeze...got to 25F, but only glanced 31F inside the hoops. Each few days to week that passes from here, my chances of going below 24F drop by 10%. The hoops can get me down to 25F without going below freezing, so I am gambling.

Back in mid-February, I had started seeds indoors, and consequently learned about legginess, too. I almost had to force them into the garden just for their own good. I also put some seeds in the ground last week in an attempt to see how they compare to those started indoors. I won't see anything from them for awhile, but at least they are in.

Today, I put out several squares of lettuce, three broccoli, a cauliflower, and am waiting for carrots, peas, and spinach. In another couple weeks, radishes go in, and more carrots, maybe more lettuce, and another row of peas.

In my opinion, if you mark things well (I use popsicle sticks with planted dates), you don't need to use a full square right away. You can plant a couple varieties of carrot in one square. Or, you can plant one row of peas and come back in 2 weeks to plant another row. That way, if you catch a hard freeze, you don't lose much time...or effort. Kind of consolidating SFG even more.

Let's all have a great March, hopefully get in the garden, and chat about what we have done so far....and are doing now. GOGOGOGOGOGO!!
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Post  Smartchick on 3/1/2011, 4:17 pm

Well, right now I'm wishing I wasn't at work so I could be in the garden instead. : ) I have the garden planned (and replanned for the 3rd time as I keep changing my mind). I think I'm going to try to grow some transplants for my cruciferous veggies and see what happens. Should have row cover arriving tomorrow to keep the stupid caterpillars away and figuring out how I can build a "frame" out of PVC to attach the row cover to. I stopped putting my cabbage, cauli and broccoli in my main gardens as they were taking up too much space and crowding everyone else out, so this year they are going off to the side until I can build a special box for them next year.

Other than that, just waiting for a couple of weeks until I can get out there and plant for real. I haven't tackled extending the season yet (maybe next) year so I will have peas, onions and a few other things out in a couple of weeks and then more towards the end of March. I'll post my plans once I get them in a more "readable" format.

Can't wait to see what everyone else is doing!
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Post  Goosegirl on 3/1/2011, 8:02 pm

Well, March for me means more cold and snow and ice. It is currently a balmy 1F (we love temps ABOVE zero!) and since this is my first year installing my boxes and trellises I am not trying to 'cheat' my zone this year. Because I am going on vacation soon, I did not start the few things last weekend that I originally had scheduled. I will wait until I get back in mid-March. If the weather improves (read melts) I may be able to get out and build a few boxes and start mixing my MM.

TC
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/1/2011, 9:38 pm

@Goosegirl wrote:Well, March for me means more cold and snow and ice. It is currently a balmy 1F (we love temps ABOVE zero!) and since this is my first year installing my boxes and trellises I am not trying to 'cheat' my zone this year. Because I am going on vacation soon, I did not start the few things last weekend that I originally had scheduled. I will wait until I get back in mid-March. If the weather improves (read melts) I may be able to get out and build a few boxes and start mixing my MM.

TC

Hopefully, you aren't on/near a river up there this season when it starts to melt. I know you aren't in ND, but you aren't far, either. I hear they are already sandbagging along the Red River.

Be safe on your vacation; hope it's great.
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Post  Goosegirl on 3/2/2011, 7:56 am

@BackyardBirdGardner wrote:Hopefully, you aren't on/near a river up there this season when it starts to melt. I know you aren't in ND, but you aren't far, either. I hear they are already sandbagging along the Red River.

Be safe on your vacation; hope it's great.
Thank you for thinking of us! We are close to the Red and the Little Minnesota. Not close enough to be personally threatened by flooding but certainly close enough to be nervous and concerned for friends and neighbors. We already had one week of tropical 40F (but still freezing at night) which dropped our snowpack a few feet before getting cold again. If we can have a bunch of short thaws like that, life on the rivers will be good. However, that is not the norm once spring hits.....
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Post  boog1 on 3/2/2011, 6:10 pm

still snow on the ground here will be working on the rasied bed this weekend in the basement maybe Shocked will probably start the seeds indoors in a couple of weeks.been saving the paper coffie cups from work to see how decent they are as starter pots for seeds with mil's mix

boog
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Post  Aub on 3/2/2011, 10:54 pm

I have quite a few things started in the house. I need to get some supplies and fill up my boxes! I'm sprouting lots of things in paper towels and need to get them in to baby food containers (the new square, plastic ones) I also need to transfer a few things to bigger pots.
Tomorrow is my day off so I'm hoping to get stuff done. Looks like it's going to be almost 50*F tomorrow so maybe we can go play outside! Cool
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/3/2011, 8:59 am

I still wish I had baby food jars. Those would make great seed savers.
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Post  Aub on 3/3/2011, 12:12 pm

My sister saves them for me. Her little guys goes through about 4 or 5 of them a day. So every day I start a few more seeds.
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Post  madnicmom on 3/3/2011, 1:33 pm

I started new crop of Brocolli and it's starting to look "leggy". I don't have a grow light. They are about 3 inches tall now. I'll tranplant them into larger containers this weekend. Cincy area is getting the highs of 36 -45, lows 27 - 36. Rain is coming this weekend. I don't have row covers so I'm waiting for the low's to be consistant 40 degrees and then I'd plant the brocolli and peas outside. sound right?

then the carrots and onions when it hits consistant 60 degrees, or do they like a cooler temp?
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Post  Smartchick on 3/3/2011, 3:45 pm

And to think I threw away all of the plastic baby food containers because I couldn't figure out what to use them for!
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/4/2011, 10:22 am

@madnicmom wrote:I started new crop of Brocolli and it's starting to look "leggy". I don't have a grow light. They are about 3 inches tall now. I'll tranplant them into larger containers this weekend. Cincy area is getting the highs of 36 -45, lows 27 - 36. Rain is coming this weekend. I don't have row covers so I'm waiting for the low's to be consistant 40 degrees and then I'd plant the brocolli and peas outside. sound right?

then the carrots and onions when it hits consistant 60 degrees, or do they like a cooler temp?

I wouldn't worry too much about broccoli. All of mine have immediately shot for the stars. They get tall in their first week. But, as long as the stems stay upright and have some spring in them, they should be ok. My lettuce would fall over and stay down.....that's what I call leggy. You couldn't knock my broccoli or cauliflower over with a hatchet right now. Just brush them sideways with your hand...lightly...and if they bounce right back up, they are fine imo.
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Post  cabinfever on 3/6/2011, 5:04 pm

My yard is still burried under at least a foot of snow! The drifts beside my driveway are taller than me! Right now I'm in the planning stages. This will be my first go at SFG, tho I've done plenty of traditional gardening.

I located my vermiculite and will buying that along with the stuff to build my boxes next weekend. In a way I'm glad I have time to really plan it out and buy my supplies little by little, as this is not cheap to start up. It's certainly helping to make the time go a bit faster, since where I live, we never plant till after Memorial Day. Sad
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/6/2011, 7:40 pm

@cabinfever wrote:My yard is still burried under at least a foot of snow! The drifts beside my driveway are taller than me! Right now I'm in the planning stages. This will be my first go at SFG, tho I've done plenty of traditional gardening.

I located my vermiculite and will buying that along with the stuff to build my boxes next weekend. In a way I'm glad I have time to really plan it out and buy my supplies little by little, as this is not cheap to start up. It's certainly helping to make the time go a bit faster, since where I live, we never plant till after Memorial Day. Sad

I'll shed a tear along with you for your winters up there. Sad But, at least you are being positive and doing some research and planning. Some of us get to start earlier than others, but I bet we all get tuhmaterz in the end.
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Post  boog1 on 3/12/2011, 2:19 pm

the lowe's in town hada bogo sale on seeds this week got what the other half wanted looked in the garden center no mel's mix Sad

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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/12/2011, 2:24 pm

@boog1 wrote:the lowe's in town hada bogo sale on seeds this week got what the other half wanted looked in the garden center no mel's mix Sad

boog

You will likely have to mix your own. My Lowe's carries vermiculite luckily, and I can do the rest. Unless you meant your Lowe's has nothing necessary in stock yet....that would stink if you are getting the gardening itch.
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Post  boog1 on 3/12/2011, 9:41 pm

they had the peat and vermiculite and compost there, jus no premixed mel's mix. i bought peat and vermiculite last year jus gotta get the compost an mix it myself.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/12/2011, 10:40 pm

@boog1 wrote:they had the peat and vermiculite and compost there, jus no premixed mel's mix. i bought peat and vermiculite last year jus gotta get the compost an mix it myself.

Gotcha. But, I imagine the pre-mix MM would cost more than the sum of it's parts. I don't mind the workload when it's a one-time-thing. Then, again, I'm a cheap-...guy.
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Post  CindiLou on 3/20/2011, 11:28 pm

I asked at Lowe's in Des Moines yesterday, if they had any Mel's Mix. March in the Northern and Central Midwest.. 889526 Rofl..the look on their faces! Guessed it was a no! Oh well, I will get the kids to help again.
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Post  Aub on 3/20/2011, 11:44 pm

I just got a truckload of compost! Then we stopped by Menard's and got my vermiculite and peat moss. Now all my beds are full!
I just need to figure out what I'm putting where.
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/21/2011, 12:06 am

Just stuck in two squares of onions. We now have a full menu and are just waiting to stagger more in. 20+ squares of my 48 are taken......and going fast.

Finally, with the warmer weather the past few days, I notice some actual growth in the veggies. It has taken forEVER to get the true leaves to pop out of some of these guys.

Thanks, Old Man Winter....you win again. And, I will never join your dark side for this reason. I raise my fist at you.....and raise my glass to Ms. Patty McSpringtime! So glad she arrived today. Her flight was not delayed and she came just in time for dinner. YAY!
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Post  madnicmom on 3/21/2011, 1:05 pm

BYBG - I seen those onions at Lowe's this weekend and thought of you! LOL

I got my peas, broccoli and cabbage planted yesterday. Still need to get some lettuce and spinach seeds and get those planted along with the carrots.

My strawberry plants and seed potatoes are due to arrive next week from Burpee. Strawberry bed is ready, still need to work on the potatoe bins.

The weekly forecast calls for a low of 30 on Thursday night ( cincy area) but it's only monday and we know that may change. LOL

I was never so happy to get my clothes dirty and love it!
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