Calumet Region Gardening March Lions and Lambs

Below Average Cold Hovers Longer Than We Like

There is an old saying that that the month of March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This March we have witnessed the presence of the lion more than I care to. I am here to tell you that we are all very tired of lions now! It has been a welcome relief to experience the slightest bit of warming weather that has come our way, the past few days. I am personally thankful that we did not share in last weeks 20" blanket of snow that hit Ohio. That just goes to show how a little wind can make or break a weather situation. Bless Mother Nature for sparing us the white stuff. The 10 day extended weather forecast is looking to be average for this time of year. Daytime temperatures will be in the high 30's to 48 degrees with nights clocking in just around freezing, give or take a few degrees. That being said, it is probably a good idea to try and get some work done in the yard.

12 Days Make The Distinction

March 1st 2008
March 1st 2008
March 12th 2008
March 12th 2008

Evaluating What to Do First

We could get more snow but, I am going to be optimistic and, wish NOT! I will take the necessary precautions should my wishing fail but, for today, I am making plans. I took a look at what I need to do, to give this dreary plot of land, the best chance, of looking top notch, next month.

I noticed a couple of rodent holes that I will probably bait with poison. I will write more about that in a later paragraph. I also noticed, I need to plant more grass seed as, there are thin areas in the lawn. This is mostly due to tree shade so, the grass is weak in those spots. It is also because we decided to put a border all the way around the house. That made it easier to mow across, less weedeating, therefore lowering maintenance time.

We selected a 4" round edger, in a brick red color, to compliment the house. Not only does this look nice but, it also increases the value of the home. Edging lends a finished look to the landscape, as well as it seperates the lawn from the beds. We installed the edging material during the summer which was not the best time to do this kind of work. That caused some grass damage from the extreme amount of foot, wheelbarrow and, garden cart traffic. I mentioned in the first gardening hub that, it was sometimes better to wait for the right time of year, to do certain yard construction. You can refer back to that hubpage by clicking on the link below. http://hubpages.com/_1ds7vvbju74gd/hub/Gardening-Mid-March-2008-In-Chicagos-South-Suburbs-and-Northwest-Indiana

Edging Helps Control Plant Material and Adds A Finished Look

Installing this border made the yard look great and probably increased the value of our house but we picked a bad time to do the work. Now it will have to be reseeded to promote more grass this summer.
Installing this border made the yard look great and probably increased the value of our house but we picked a bad time to do the work. Now it will have to be reseeded to promote more grass this summer.

Suburban Wildlife /Friend or Foe

This black hole,(lower left corner) probably hosts Voles and Mice
This black hole,(lower left corner) probably hosts Voles and Mice
Who lives in there? Rabbits,racoons,badgers,groundhogs and,opossums are thriving in this region
Who lives in there? Rabbits,racoons,badgers,groundhogs and,opossums are thriving in this region

Make a TO-DO List

  • Check my Farmers Almanac, Almanac.com, for planting dates. Note dates for root crops and above ground crops.
  • Bait rodent holes ASAP.
  • Start cleaning out leaves and other dead plant material.
  • Aerate around all bulbs and corms that are showing
  • Go shopping for onion sets, seed potatoes, and cool weather plant seeds.
  • Purchase grass seed for filling bare spots.
  • Collect plastic jugs for miniature greenhouse, seed caps.
  • Plant seeds for transplants.
  • Trim shrubs in front of picture window.

What Does The Moon Tell Us About Gardening

Folk lore has it that we should plant root crops by the dark of the moon and above ground crops by the light of the moon. What is meant by all of this light moon, dark moon jargon? Here is a brief explanation.

The first half of the moon, being the new moon through the full moon,(also known as the "waxing" moon) is the best time to plant things that produce above the ground food. Examples of this would be things like tomatoes, peppers, beans and corn. The later half of the moon, being the receding half,(also known as the "waning" moon),is the best time to plant things that produce below ground. These are our root crops. Examples would be onions, potatoes, garlic, peanuts, turnips and carrots just to name a few.

You can find those planting charts in the almanac to simplify it. You can also get a great calendar from the publishers of The Old Farmers Almanac. This has almost everything you need along with day by day notes and places to keep your personal gardening history.

The dead leaves will go to the compost pile when I remove them
The dead leaves will go to the compost pile when I remove them
Putting waste to work in compost pile
Putting waste to work in compost pile
compost applied last fall has given me rich black dirt in the garden as you can see in the bottom of this picture
compost applied last fall has given me rich black dirt in the garden as you can see in the bottom of this picture

Caution Yard and Garden Work Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

So far I have looked at the yard, thought about it, taken, pictures, and made my first ToDo list. I have not put any of my thoughts into action.There is so much to do and not that much time for most of us to get it done. Between weather, jobs, family and, friends, it is not always easy to find time.

Work in the yard can be designed for low maintenance during your planning and structuring. This will help to conserve, not only your energy, but in the long run you will use less water, fertilizer, and other resources. A little conservation goes a long way. It does not matter if your yard is already established. There might be areas where you can adapt a few changes that will pay off in the long run.

Top priority is self preservation. I have spent a good deal of this past winter setting on my butt in front of this computer. I think I am not in the best physical shape that I could be in. I know that i will have to take it easy when I start working in the yard. It won't do any good to save time by mulching everything out there if I strain my back and lay myself up for a few weeks. Be careful working in the yard, rest, stretch,drink plenty of water and don't over do it.

Composting and Garden Tools I Use

Recycled coffee container with the lid makes a perfect collection bin in the kitchen
Recycled coffee container with the lid makes a perfect collection bin in the kitchen
Tine Garden Fork
Tine Garden Fork

Leveling the garden with composted leaves

By adding compost to a hole and using recycled timbers from our front yard( timbers were replaced by 4" round edging stones), this garden has finally leveled off
By adding compost to a hole and using recycled timbers from our front yard( timbers were replaced by 4" round edging stones), this garden has finally leveled off

Potatoes For You Irish Gardeners and Everyone Else Who Loves To Grow Good Things To Eat

My garden started with a plot of potatoes and it has been a joy to harvest and share one of my personal favorites, for the last 3 years. I took a self tried and, proven method for planting my first potato crop because there was no garden where I had intentions of starting one. Some of you may be in the first stages of making a garden plot and, you too, might benefit from my angle on where to start from scratch.

I started my first plot by piling a bunch of composted leaves in the area where I planned to make my garden. First I took a tining fork and stuck it in the ground as far as it would push without a lot of serious effort. That produced holes that would allow air and water to penetrate the untilled ground. This was done across the entire area where I wanted to put my potatos. I put the compost on top of the perferated soil about a foot deep and spread it out over a 4'x4' section.

I made sure that the plot was fairly even in depth and then i made sure that the entire mound was fairly exact in dimension. The reason I worked in the 4'x4' size is so that as my plants started growing I could work the patch from all sides. I like this size for most of my planting plots, and I usually stick to this method. Now you want to know, why the compost first?

The ground where I started my garden was very uneven and full of weeds and grass. The soil was also very poor with a lot of clay and would have been a back breaking chore to try to dig. I used the compost as a weed barrier/soil conditioner/earthworm attractor. Yes the compost did all of that work for me and in a lot less labor than it takes to do traditional gardening methods.

Lake County Indiana Below Lake Michigan

A markerLake County Indiana -
Lake, Indiana, USA
[get directions]

Northwest Indian weather changes are usually affected by wind conditions over Lake Michigan

The Ground Is Too Wet To Work

All of the snow and ice and rain has left the ground too wet to work. It would cause more harm than good to try to work the soil. Today I will put some bait out for the mice and voles and then go shopping. I hate to kill the little devils but they eat my seeds. Voles reproduce much faster than mice so I try to keep the population down. I use a poison cake that is gone within 24 hours of placing it. Most of the time I just put it under a pie pan adjacent the hole where I think the voles and mice live.

You can find more information on voles by going to this sight. http://www.voles.com/

I had no idea of how much damage the little critters could do.Now I try to keep the population down in my garden.

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