jamie_z7bhz8

Veggie Tales - March 2021

Jamie
last month

Happy March, Everyone! spring is almost here! For many of us it is time to start seeds for out summer gardens - tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and other plant that need a little extra time before transplanting.

My goals for the month are to get potatoes planted, start tomatoes, and start or transplant cool season greens along with getting the garden beds ready for planting.

Happy March and Happy Spring!

Comments (517)

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    pm - Don't think I answered you about the taste of persimmons. I picked one up at the grocery store last fall and we both really liked it. It was fairly sweet and firm. Cannot think of another fruit that it tasted like as it was quite unique.

    There are two types of persimmon fruit: astringent and non-astringent. (from Wiki.) I ordered a non-astringent plant.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    19 days ago

    PM another source of nitrogen is blood meal which I think is considered organic although it is made from pig blood.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa
    19 days ago

    praiirie - I googled "horse boarding Boston MA" and got this:


    I just wear my garden boots, but others might go bare foot............

    A pickup from U-Haul is $19.95 for a 24 hr day. But the mileage is 59¢ per mile.

    If you think you're interested I can make more suggestions.


  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    Cindy, I look forward to hearing how the persimmon tree project is going.

    Len, blood meal, might help keep the rabbits away. [g]

    John, that is so nice of you to give me that help. 😀 Yes, I was going on assumptions and never having seen or heard of places nearby, I thought it would be a lot further away than that.

    John, giving it serious consideration, I'm wondering if you have a large property? I have neighbors close - a 1/4 acre lot. I'm wondering if there is an odor. And I'd assume If I was carting it home, it wouldn't be at the nice stage of being already composted? Well, questions I guess, I can call a few places and ask. Would I be bringing home material that would have to sit in my yard for 6 months to break down further and where would I put it. Would I know how to handle it?

    Then there is the concern about using animal manures on food production. I seem to remember there is concern in that regard, unless someone has the facility to heat it to a high temperature? Isn't that where EColi on lettuce comes from? Isn't that why they pasteurize the chicken manure that they sell commercially? What would be the reason bagged poultry manure would be a bad choice? This is the product...

    FEDCO poultry manure

    I'd almost feel more comfortable using it in the landscape than in the vegetable garden.

    I see they offer Feathermeal as a source of nitrogen. Which turns out to be 13-0-0. I wonder if that would be less problematic?

    Here is the last soil test I took, which seemed to be good. They did suggest I use a little Lime, but I thought 6.2pH was good for veggies? I actually thought my soil had too much of the minerals. Probably from all the leaves I use all the time?



  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    Prairymoon...there is nothing wrong with that product at 5-4-3 it is a weak source of nitrogen with a lot of composted shavings or other material. Dried and composted chicken poop would be way hotter than that. However they have added 9% calcium which you do not need and probably don't want. Furthermore since your potassium and phosphorus are both above ideal levels I suggest you drill down on nitrogen for this spring and then test again next winter.

    Blood Meal is pure nitrogen...here is a random site that has pretty good information. FYI because application is shown in cups BM is about 2 cups per pound. Smaller quantities can be bought locally or ordered in...I paid about $1.50 per pound bulk the last time I bought but that was pre covid and for a big bag and now my soil is so nitrogen rich I cut back.

    I looked up feather meal and it seems like a great product to raise nitrogen levels over time, not as quick as blood meal but longer lasting probably.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    Len, what do you make of my soil test? Are my mineral levels too high? Since I add nothing to my soil in the way of amendments really, just grass clippings and chopped Maple leaves and the occasional cover crop, I assume that is where those levels are coming from.

    Feather meal takes longer and I do need the nitrogen this season. You didn't find the blood meal attracts critters? Yes 5-4-3 is not very high in nitrogen. I was thinking of side dressing rather than mixing it in and I planned on using alfalfa meal as a side dressing too.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    19 days ago

    I don't think minerals are high enough to be problematic...we are always trying to add them here. Alfalfa meal is another option, quicker than feather meal. I would mix it in your planting areas as you prep.


    No, I had no animal problems with blood meal, maybe it actually retard the rabbits and deer a bit.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa
    19 days ago

    prairie - Here's my number one complaint with anything in a bag. Price. For the Fedco product they get $20 for a 40# bag. Forty pound bags are about 1 cu ft. There's 27 cu ft in a cubic yard. So at $20 a bag that's $540 per cu yard. A much better deal would be to order 1 cu yard of mushroom manure about $35-$39 a cu yard and pay $35 for delivery and throw away what you don't need. Say you need 10 cu ft. that's $200 for the chicken poo. or $74 for the mushroom poo. You could also both go for steaks at Ruth's Crisp and also have some wine, well maybe not the wine.

    Chicken manure is a better product than horse manure, I won't argue that. But I would say that horse manure is a better product than mushroom manure. It's supposedly spent horse manure. But from my experience I can't tell the difference in results. Last summer I grew 3 plots of corn. The first one I used mushroom manure. The next two I used horse/mushroom manure mixed and couldn't tell the difference in the cobs, kernels or the plants.

    I like to use the horse manure because it's cheaper and it's a cleaner product. The mushroom manure has limestone and bark pieces in it. From hauling different loads in the same truck. I get more rocks from the mushroom manure than are in my soil. I get almost fist size rocks, gall stones I call them. The only thing I got in the horse manure was a horse brushing brush, once!

    As far as smell I don't think there's a problem; If you get well composted manure. We have an acre and a half; but it's only 85 feet wide. My neighbor to the north got a pickup load of mushroom manure late last summer, and piled it up. I don't think they'd have done that if they were offended by the smell of mine. If you spread horse or mushroom manure and it rains on it or you water it, most of the smell disappears. The fresh manure I got to put in the hot frame smelled like manure, but I buried it. That was a 2' X 5' X 1' foot deep pile 10 cu ft. I put it in 3 mil trash bags and tied 9 bags to the car roof. Zero cost, guaranteed fresh.

    There are seeds in it, mean in the well composted. but very few. A few tall oats plants ( I think ) but they're tall I don't have to bend over to pull them and the roots aren't big, they pull right out. Most of the seeds have composted.


    If you're interested I'll tell you what to look for; how to make sure you get back out of the barn site. Call a few numbers confirm it's free and they have some, they will. Don't ask about weed killers and wormers in the hay/straw. You'll just offend them. We'll test for it.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    John, our property is about 90 ft wide but like a postage stamp really. [g] None of our neighbors garden at all, so no one is composting or saving up organic materials.

    You’ve made it sound doable and it sounds like it works great for you. I guess I am still reluctant to go that route. I might consider it for next season to give me some time to look into it more. Even if I used it in the landscape rather than the vegetable garden. I definitely will make some calls to see if anyone has any that is composted well. But I wouldn’t use it on my garden this season, even if I decided to go that route. And I’m going to drop the idea of the poultry manure too, and figure something else out for this year, that I can do right away. I’m ready to plant in the next couple of weeks.

    Thanks John, if I decide to go that route, it’s nice to know you have the experience to offer some tips on how to do it right.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    19 days ago
    last modified: 19 days ago

    Tonight's salad


    Corn Salad, bloody dock, Eruption red romaine,Rouge d Hiver lettuce, Australian Yellow Lettuce, May Queen Lettuce, Tres Fine Endive. Lots more in the hoop house...it was too cold to pick anything in the garden today!

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)
    18 days ago

    Cindy - If your 'one more variety' of potatoes to plant is only 5 pounds, I am wondering just how big IS your potato patch?!?!? My 25' row probably only takes 4 pounds to plant, spacing each about a foot apart.

    Jamie - I am happy to hear that your new place is well out of the flood plane. How are plans coming along for the new place?

    Richard - Will you be adding 'soil' to your potato pots? It looks like there's lots of room in the pots. Everything in your garden looks so happy.

    John & PrairieMoon - I've enjoyed reading about all the composted manure options you have or are considering. And thanks for the reminder to get my soil tested. I collected a couple samples from either end of my garden a couple weeks ago right before we were going to get a bunch of rain, and it still sits on my covered deck. I need to get it to the county extension office to be sent for analysis.

    I need to post an update on what I've got going on, but for now, I need to get to work!


  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa
    18 days ago

    prairie - Let me know if you change your mind. You should know however that the pile I've been working for two years has had nothing added to it. It has more of an earthy smell than a manure smell. And I cover it with a tarp.

    We've got a cold spell coming after tomorrow. Low of 20 high of mid 30's with snow showers. My Bartlett pear tree looks like the buds are going to open; not good.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    18 days ago

    Margi I think you should take fresh samples rather than send in the old ones.

  • RD Texas
    18 days ago

    Margi, yes I keep filling up the containers until the soil completely fills them as the plants and potatoes grow. I am just using top soil to fill them, but the bottom 18 inches in each container is either Pro Mix or raised bed potting mix.

  • RD Texas
    18 days ago

    I clipped most of the lower leaves off my tomato plants before I ran out of gas today. Going to see the doctor about anemia tomorrow, so hopefully they can prescribe me something for that when I see her. Tomorrow I plan to stake most of the tomato plants up before any limbs get snapped off-been having heavy winds lately.

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)
    18 days ago

    Len - Really? Soil that’s just been hanging out in open containers on the deck would change analysis?

    Richard - I hope the doc has an easy solution.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    18 days ago

    Margi if the instructions are the same as I had, yes because the soil sample now exposed to elements...Here is link to my instruction sheet. Maybe it isn't that big a deal but who knows?

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    18 days ago

    Margi - I have several garden beds and one of them is 88 feet long. Another one is 35' x 6' and it's just for potatoes. (Yes, I amend that soil every year.) In the other two, I usually do not plant potatoes though that may change next year as I am amending them a lot this year.

    My DH likes potatoes more than any other veggie. Potatoes for him and like peas for you. He'll eat them any way they are prepared.

    Down to 34 last night. Colder than predicted.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    18 days ago

    Wow Cindy that is lots of spuds. My patch this year is 4x20 or about 25% of yours! All of my raised beds including the part under the hoophouse add up to just under 100x3' wide plus another 100 SF on the ground and about 50 containers.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    18 days ago

    Len - There are only two rows of potatoes in the 88 foot bed. The rest of it is for tomatoes, peppers, and other veggies.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    18 days ago
    last modified: 18 days ago

    I ordered potatoes but they aren't' due for delivery for a couple of weeks. I'm only doing a couple of pots.

    28 on our back porch this morning.

    We have a new situation. Digging over the vegetable bed a rabbit nest with babies was discovered and disturbed. *sigh* And while I certainly want to prevent rabbits from eating my garden, I can't be responsible for killing baby rabbits either. So, the nest was definitely disturbed and the babies were exposed. So we put on gloves and tried to repair it somewhat, but it seemed like they were under the ground and now were on top of the ground with the covering the mother had put on them. So I cut back some dried Carex from another bed and layered that over it. We added a little more yesterday because it was raining and very windy all day and I went by there and one of the babies had fallen out and was exposed. Then I just left it alone hoping the Mom would take care of it.

    I was happy to see this morning, that the mother had come back and redid the nest. Had dug around it and widened it and put a pile of leaves over the top of it. Then about an hour later, we were looking out the window and saw the Mom back checking out the nest and she actually fed the babies while we were watching from the window. This was at 8am which surprised me, since I thought they did that during the night.

    Anyway, it's always something. I'm happy they are being taken care of but I'm sure I'm not going to be happy to have more rabbits this year. I did read a comment from someone who said she feeds rabbits, rabbit food and that keeps them from eating her garden. I wonder if I should think of doing that? [g]

  • vgkg Z-7 Va
    17 days ago

    My so-called "lawn" contains lots of clover which keeps my local rabbits happy. They seem to prefer clover over the garden plants.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    17 days ago

    vgkg - that sounds like my lawn. I've had rabbits nest in my raised beds several times and they don't bother the plants when there's plenty of cover around.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    Interesting, we also have a lot of clover in the lawn, but last year there was a population explosion of rabbits. Where normally, I'd look out and see one rabbit in the yard once in awhile eating clover, last year I'd look out and see 3 of them. And they started eating lots of things. I didn't grow vegetables last year, but they ate my hostas and lilies and lots of other things.

    We also have coyote in the neighborhood and by the end of summer it was hard to find a rabbit, but now that I have baby rabbits going to hatch in the yard, I guess the population will be replenished. [g]

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    17 days ago

    Ditto here...at least the rabbits don't seem to want to hop into the raised beds when there is so much food on the ground floor ;)


    I forgot about the malabar spinich so put paper towel wrapped seeds in plastic bag to get them sprouted. They are really hard seeds so chipped half of them with a nail clipper...will see what happens in a few days.


    It is blue sky and sunshine this morning so it will be fun in the sun although quite chilly so far at 41 degrees. Time for a couple more short rows of radishes and a seed row of Tatsoi to take over when the overwintered spinach bolts. I saw one flower coming on a spinach plant yesterday.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    17 days ago

    Did I mention that I have raised beds and the rabbit built her nest in the raised bed when we went to turn the soil over on Saturday it was discovered.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    17 days ago

    Oops! Another something. I was reading up about improving soil with wood chips so I signed up for a wood chip delivery free. And I just got an email they are delivering in the next 48hrs. Yikes! Now I suddenly have the job of shoveling into wheelbarrows and moving whatever they drop there out of the driveway. I'm wondering where I'm going to put it or use it? Anyone have experience with a pile of wood chips?


  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    pm said "now that I have baby rabbits going to hatch in the yard"

    They must be Easter rabbits if they are going to hatch! ( rabbits are born not hatched out of an egg).

    Don't mix the wood chips into your soil this year. They will tie up all of the nitrogen as they rot. You could mix it into the soil in the fall and let the soil food web do it's thing. I wouldn't do more than 1" per bed even then.

    You can use it for top mulch this year though. Or let it compost for a year or 2 if you have somewhere to pile it up.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    LOL I knew rabbits don't hatch, Jack, it was a joke. 🙃

    Thanks for that info about wood chips. I don't actually have a place to pile them up except for an area that has pavers, that I could actually do. And I imagine you leave them open to the weather and don't cover them. I will definitely think about mixing some of them into the soil in the fall but don't mix in more than an inch, okay.

    Top mulch - you mean use it just like bark mulch in my shrub beds? Thank you!

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    17 days ago

    They make great path covers and yes you could use around shrubs...Agree with Jack they break down slowly and soak up nitrogen which is opposite of what you need per earlier posts.


  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    I hadn't thought of that Len, to use them in pathways. I can use them instead of bark mulch between my vegetable beds where I don't care of they tie up the nitrogen.

    Right, I was thinking of experimenting with one of those beds that have the wood chips at the bottom of the bed to break down over time, in one of my vegetable beds. And I wonder if I couldn't add them along the fence line away from my shrubs.


    What about using them around blueberry bushes, will that lower the pH?


  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa
    17 days ago

    I covered my last wood chip pile with a few feet of semi chopped leaves. The next year I put 3 or so inches amongst my tomatoes. I left a hole around the stalks a foot or so. I used them to mulch my blueberries. No problems there, or anywhere. i dug in a few in the second year, not a lot, not an inch, a dusting as you might say with snow. I've also dug them in when they are the bedding in horse manure. They disappeared, I never noticed them again.

    Don't use them around houses or structures of any kind. They may draw termites.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    John, or others - I have a dwarf plum that is already flowering. Thursday and Friday it is predicted to get as low as 27 or 26.

    Best way to protect? Wrap towels around the plant, plastic sheeting, or cardboard? Pretty sure that plastic sheeting is not the way to go.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    I use old blankets (particularly old ele blankets that are broken) to cover/protect plants. If you have a makeshift "cage" to place around the small tree and then wrap the blanket around the cage in a tee-pee style fashion that would help.

    My pears, plums, and peaches are blooming now too but they are too big to protect, just hoping for a short duration of below freezing temps and a sunrise to hit the tall trees early on.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa
    17 days ago

    Cindy - How about an organic sludge pot:

    A bag or so of hot compost or manure with a tarp/plastic sheet over the whole tree. Hope the tree is small ! I've done this with freshly cut grass clippings in a bag with tomatoes. Easier than with a tree. And easier at 30 than 26 or 27.

    I have five 8 foot bamboo poles and 4 or 5 20 foot long 1" pvc pipe. You can stop over with your straight truck and pick em up.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    Thanks John and vgkg. The tree is small, it's dwarf. I forgot the photo. And it's protected to keep the deer from destroying it.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    17 days ago

    vgkg - How cold is expected to get where you are?

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    17 days ago

    When I watch movies about vineyards, I notice that sometimes they spray water on them to get them through a cold night. Or they turn on heaters in the rows next to the vines. Have no idea if any of that helps or under what circumstances, but thought I'd throw that out there.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    17 days ago

    Thanks, pm. I have also heard about giving plants a layer of ice as a barrier to a freeze.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    17 days ago

    Hmmm...is it a layer of ice, or does running the water on it all night keep it from freezing?


  • leahikesgardenspdx
    17 days ago

    Prairiemoon, while I wouldn't use arborists wood chips in my vegetable garden, except on the paths, I do love them for mulching other beds. Here is a really good article on wood chip mulch; https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/wood-chips.pdf

    The article is from the Washington State University Extension Service website, Horticultural Myths.

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)
    17 days ago

    Look what I discovered yesterday in my berry patch.

    I can almost taste this future strawberry!

    Regarding wood chips...I use a bunch of them in all my landscaped beds. Preen weed preventer and mulch save my back. We have a lot of landscaped area. I don’t enjoy pulling weeds.

  • vgkg Z-7 Va
    17 days ago

    Cindy, the overnite low temps predictions here (near Richmond) range from 27 to 29 for both Fri and Sat mornings. Those numbers may be more fined tuned as the front approaches by Thurs nite, hopefully those low temps will be of short duration, and upgraded to 30F. In the past my fruit tree blooms have survived below freezing temps as long as it wasn't below 27-28F and of a short duration of just a few hours, not more than 6. Wind and humidity also plays a part in the variables.

    You tree cage looks perfect for covering with a blanket, just secure it in place good as windy conditions may be going on too. Keeping fingers crossed!!

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    Thanks, vgkg. I have those not great tomato cages around it. Every time I plant a smallish fruit tree, I do that because the deer often use them to rub their antlers or to chew on. Aggravating.

    The lows here are now predicted to be 26 both nights.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    27 here tonight and windy. I had to move my broccoli transplants into the garage due to the wind. The lettuce is short enough that the wind doesn't whip it around as much.

    I got my first Pfizer shot a few hours ago. So far no ill effects other than a dry mouth. Might have to pop open a beer soon to fix that.

    Margi - remind me how long it takes to go from blossom to red ripe on those berries. We still have 4 or 6 pounds in the freezer from last year to use up. They are vacuum sealed and look as perfect as the day I put them in there. Might have to use them for daiquiris this summer.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    16 days ago

    That's what is coming our way, Jack

    One of my rhubarb plants is up. Still no sign of the other two.

  • cindy-6b/7a VA
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    Urg. Now my peach trees are blooming and they are much too big to cover. It was those two warm days Friday and Saturday last week.

    The rain so far today was fairly gentle. Perfect for soaking into the earth. It's what is coming this morning that has me concerned.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa
    16 days ago

    My radishes and lettuce have sprouted. And I planted apple seeds in the garden dirt covered with a metal screen early in the winter. They're also sprouting. My Bartlett pear has loads of buds that've become multiple "budlets". I read today that if the budlets which are flower buds aren't showing pink they're safe from frost. So they're safe, I hope.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a
    16 days ago

    I planted out a tray of multisown plugs of beets today. I hope they do OK as they are quite leggy and falling over. Whatever will be will be at this point. I have another partial tray that are worse so will find someplace to stick them too. Lots more cool weather seedlings to get in. The weather today was perfect for working outside, 6i0 degrees and sunny with no wind. Looks like it will be cooler again for the next 10 days :(