Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Monday, March 28, 2016

Last Week of March-Sunshine on the Way!

Good morning Portland gardeners,

Like me I'm sure you have seen this week's forecast and are excitedly in anticipation of some excellent gardening weather. Today is cloudy, no rain. Tuesday-Sunday the forecast is SUNSHINE with daytime highs of 65-70 degrees and nighttime lows in the 40s. Our average last frost passed March 15th. As we move from the spring equinox to the summer solstice our day lengths continue to increase. This is all fantastic news for gardeners.

After heavy winter and spring rains this week our garden soils will begin to dry out and warm up. This week we should have excellent conditions to do garden clean-up, fertilize, apply compost & mulch, and plant all kinds of things! With warmer soil temperatures it is the perfect time finally for planting seeds for optimal germination-like beets & carrots!

In the edible garden enjoy planting fruit trees, small fruit, perennial herbs, and cool season veggie crops. It is still too early to plant basil, tomatoes, beans, corn, peppers, eggplant, squash, pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers. These hot season crops need night temperatures consistently above 55 degrees to grow and thrive. In Portland that is typically between May 15-June 1st. If you plant hot season crops now if they even survive they become stressed and stunted. Just wait.

Cool Season crops to plant this week:

Broccoli Raab
Brussels Sprouts (for a fall harvest)
Endive & Escarole
Meslcun Mix
Mustard Greens
Swiss Chard

Annual herbs like: chamomile, chervil, cilantro and dill
Perennial & biennial herbs like: angelica, bay, lavender, lemon balm, lovage, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, rue, sage, savory, and thyme

Companion flowers: It is still a little early and cool for most summer annuals I like to interplant in the edible garden. Cool season companion flowers available now are violas & pansies. Wait until April to purchase and plant other companion flower plants. Though, this week you could plant seeds for: alyssum, bachelor buttons, calendula, cleome, cosmos, marigolds, nasturtium, and zinnia. In Portland we typically wait to plant sunflower seeds in mid April.

Great garden tasks for this week are pulling weeds, hoeing fall-planted cover crops, applying an organic granular fertilizer, top dressing with compost, and if not planting then covering your beds back up with cardboard, frost blanket, coffee sacks, or a tarp to keep them warm and prevent weeds.

Yesterday I taught a class at Portland Nursery and picked up lots of stuff to plant this week in my own garden: beets, broccoli raab, carrots, radishes, scallions, chives, parsley, and more seed potatoes! Have a super fun week in the sunshine and in your garden. Shoot me any questions, I would love to hear from you.

Happy Gardening,


Peggy said...

Jolie - I have always appreciated your blog and your knowledge, but this year I especially am happy you are actively writing!

You would think after all my years at the nursery I would know edible gardening in my sleep, but years of encroaching, growing trees (no complaints really), continued to diminish my abilities to grow much in the vegetable/fruit/herb boxes.

So now, I find myself with a small community garden plot - open to the wide sky - and I can turn my thoughts to more than the greens that had become just about all I could grow for the past few years! I suddenly feel like a beginner again - so I am very happy to have your blog to refer to (I have seen your gardens, and know that you know about what you write!)

So, thank you - and Happy Spring!

Jolie Ann Donohue said...

Hi Peggy,
Thank you for your feedback. I am super excited for you to start the community gardening adventure. Its sad when trees provide so much shade our edible gardening becomes limited. The wonderful news is Portland has so many community gardens, and several of them right in your neighborhood. I will be excited to hear how your new edible garden progresses. Keep me posted. Enjoy all the sunshine this week! Happy Spring, Jolie

Mark Boldman said...

What kind of granular fertilizer do you suggest for vegetable raised beds? Is there a good soil testing kit you can recommend as well?

Jolie Ann Donohue said...

Hi Mark, thanks for reading! It was great to see you on Saturday. And it sounds like you found the blog post that had fertilizer recommendations and you were heading to garden fever nursery. In general for beginner gardeners I recommend keeping it simple at getting box/bag of organic tomato & vegetable fertilizer. For the more experienced gardener like yourself, my custom mix from the bulk bins will be fun for you to experiment with.

Equal parts: alfalfa meal, flaxseed meal, rock phosphate, kelp meal, glacial rock dust. In my 4x6 raised beds I use about 1-2 cups per bed at planting time in March and then on a 30 day schedule April-August.

Let me know how it goes for you this year and what you think about the custom blend. Happy gardening! Jolie