GARDEN JOURNAL – 3rd Week of March

Starting the first hot weather crops of the season always gives my mood
a much needed boost.  This week, I started all of my sweet pepper,
hot pepper and eggplant seeds.  As I’ve done for the last fifteen years,
I started my seeds in a twenty row seeder, 10 seeds per row.  One
modification that I have made is to cut off the last six rows so that
I can fit in a couple of 4 packs of eggplant seeds.  “Pray tell, Gregoire,
why do you do that”?  Good question.  Peppers and eggplants are
both started on a heat mat to stimulate germination.  However, the
eggplant seedlings need to be removed from the heat just as they are
poaking out of the soil or they will quickly get too leggy.

IMPORTANT TIP:  Start eggplant seeds on a heat mat but remove as soon as they emerge.

Early in my gardening life I acquired a small booklet entitled “The Best Gardening Ideas I Know” by Robert Rodale. I learned a lot from this tiny publication, especially about companion planting to deter insects. Over the years, I have tried quite a few of the suggestions. Some work better than others. My favorite is planting calendula in the asparagus patch to deter asparagus beetles. THIS WORKS BIG TIME! It’s amazing.
I will see a new crop of asparagus beetles emerge from the ground. Before the day is out they disappear. I highly recommend this natural repellent. Seeds were started now so that I will have plants ready to flower in late April when the first asparagus emerges.

Another great tip I got from “The Best Gardening Ideas I Know” is companion planting nasturtiums with my zucchini to ward of squash beetles. My experience has been that this works well if the nasturtiums are flowering. In order to be ready for the season, I have started some “Kaleidoscope Mix” seeds in 2″ soil blocks. I want them to be in
flower by the time my zucchini plants are ready to be transplanted. I’m using the soil blocks because nasturtiums really don’t like being transplanted. Soil blocks change this dynamic for the better.

The Glacier Ultra Early Tomatoes that I started the first week of March have been transplanted and are doing well. My goal is to eat my first ripe tomato on or before June 8. My main crop tomatoes will be started in the first week of April.

My Glacier tomato seedlings
My Glacier tomato seedlings

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common . . . To the wise, therefore, a fact is true poetry, and the most beautiful of fables.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Even though there is still over a foot of snow on the ground I am lifted by the feeling that planting season is close at hand. I would love some feedback about this blog.
Please leave your comments.
All the best,

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