Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Saturday, March 5, 2016

First Week of March Garden Projects

Good morning gardeners!

This week brought March 1st and with it typical early spring weather. Just during the one day of March 1st Portland saw pounding rain, whipping winds, hail, warm sun breaks, and a beautiful rainbow. That one day about sums up March in Portland.

Yesterday morning I took advantage of the break in rain to complete a couple of gardening projects. It was welcome time in my own garden after a winter of caring for the Legacy hospital healing gardens.

In my small flower bed I grow several varieties of peony, dahlia, lilies, echinacea, rudbekia, coreopis, monarda, agastache, and clematis. During the winter this flower bed of herbaceous perennials dies down to nothing. I cover it with a thick layer of autumn leaves and let it rest. Yesterday I raked away the leaves, applied an organic granular fertilizer to the top and covered it in a top dressing of compost. I replaced plant markers, put peony supports in place, and dreamed of the spectacular spring through fall show of flowers. The compost I prefer as a great top dressing for my ornamental beds is EB Stone brand planting compost.

My raised bed herb garden is full of perennial herbs, many are evergreen and provide me with herbs throughout the winter. This raised bed I also covered with autumn leaves in October to provide a warm winter mulch and discourage squirrels from burying their nuts. The autumn leaves were such a warm winter mulch that my oregano continued to produce a low blanket of stems under the autumn leaves all winter long! Yesterday I applied an organic granular fertilizer and top dressed the entire raised bed with compost. The fall planted garlic and shallots are looking great!

This month I will plant one of my three raised vegetable beds. To prepare it for planting in the next few weeks, I removed the frost blanket, gently pulled up the autumn-planted cover crop crimson clover, left it's greens on top of the soil, pulled any weeds, applied an organic granular fertilizer, and top dressed the entire raised bed with compost. The compost I prefer for my raised beds and containers of vegetables, fruit, and herbs is nurseryman brand bumper crop. Bumper crop is awesome! After applying compost to the top of the bed I replace the frost blanket. The frost blanket will discourage squirrels and cats from my raised bed, it will continue to keep the soil warm, and keep the soil mostly dry so that it is ready to plant when I am!

As spring begins and soil is warming it is an excellent time to fertilize and add compost to your garden. I mix my own organic granular fertilizer from bulk elements at Garden Fever nursery in NE Portland. They have excellent ingredients and bulk is .99/pound. I use equal parts of:

Alfalfa Meal
Flaxseed Meal
Rock Phosphate
Kelp Meal
Glacial Rock Dust

It is super nutritious packed with N-P-K and a host of trace minerals, it is vegan with no by-products of the slaughter house industry, and it's super economical. For just a few dollars you get a bag of beautiful organic fertilizer enough to apply to 4 raised beds!

For more information:
What to Plant in March
To subscribe to my email newsletter with monthly gardening tips
To attend one of my gardening workshops
To learn more about my gardening consultation and design services

Have a great day and happy gardening,

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