Looks like March is coming on a wave with all the rain we’ve had for the past few days. It’s a little soggy outside! But the good news is that crocuses and daffodils are starting to bloom. I have a feeling spring will be here as soon as this storm passes near us. Or maybe the storm after that. Or the one after that…
First the fun part: planting! Lettuce, spinach and mustard seeds can all be sown outdoors under cover or transplanted successfully now. Lettuce seeds sown thickly can provide a nice crop of young shoots when it’s time to thin them out. Later in the month, beets can be successfully sown in the garden, and St. Patrick’s Day is a good reminder to plant potatoes. I normally plant seeds around President’s Day, but decided to wait a bit with our cold then wet weather. They can be sown anytime now, indoors or outdoors.
It is also time to set up the seed starting equipment. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Swiss chard, and kale can all be started indoors all month long. Kale and Swiss chard can sprout if sown outdoors, but will have a head start if started indoors for a few weeks before transplanting. Tomatoes and peppers can be sown in March. Peppers are more cold sensitive and may need to be fussed indoors for a few more weeks than tomatoes, but due to their slow growth I tend to plant them both at the same time or even earlier than tomatoes.
I say this every year, but it’s time to get out and do some weeding. Spending 10 minutes weeding now will save you hours of weeding in a month or two. One of the worst BOG offenders is Shotweed (Cardamine oligosperm), a slow-growing weed with pretty white flowers – which turn into little rockets that send tiny seeds flying all over the garden once the pods ripen. This menace has grown all winter and can produce seed as early as March.
Do you have extra seeds that you saved from last year, or a packet that only contained one or two seeds? Maybe a variety you didn’t like and won’t replant again? Bring them to our annual seed exchange and bring home new ones! If you are a beginner or don’t have any seeds to share, you are also invited. This is a great opportunity to collect the seeds you need to get started. The seed exchange will take place at Ballinger Park on the back deck of the MLT Senior Center (23000 Lakeview Drive, Mountlake Terrace) from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on March 5. Free entry. Please note: this event will take place outdoors but under cover. Please dress to be comfortable in the weather. For more information, see our Facebook event page.
A question about gardening? Ask for it on our Facebook page!
About the BOG
The Ballinger Organic Garden is a volunteer-led effort to develop a community garden at Ballinger Park. The BOG, in partnership with MLT Recreation & Parks and the MLT Senior Center and funded by a grant from the MLT Community Foundation, is currently in “Phase 0” while larger construction activities (creek restoration and trail installation) are completed. Phase 0 includes maintenance of existing raised beds and a garden plot on the south side of the MLT Senior Center in Ballinger Park. Phase 1 will involve the installation of a larger garden with plots available for community members to maintain. Want to volunteer, or do you have an idea of what you would like to see in the future garden? Please let us know.
To stay up to date on what’s happening at BOG, including what’s developing, working groups and events, follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
— By Robyn Rice
Robyn Rice grew up in eastern Washington, pulling weeds and picking rotten fruit as part of the dreaded chores assigned by her father, a master gardener. Today, Robyn is a fisheries biologist for an environmental consulting firm and has been gardening in the Seattle area since 2010. Her scientific background leads to endless research into the “right” way to do things, but her enthusiasm and her sense of adventure leads her to garden fearless because hey, what could be worse?