March Madness

For some people, March Madness means lots and lots of basketball.  For me, March Madness refers to lots and lots of garden chores.

And as the temperatures begin to warm,  my mind races with everything  I want  to get done this month.

I’ve been working feverishly in the greenhouse starting perennials, annuals and most recently tomatoes and peppers.  The broccoli seedlings are growing nicely..


early February


early March

This year I am placing mason bee houses near my garden to attract these marvelous pollinators.   Mason bees do not produce honey and do not live in hives.  They are a solitary, non aggressive, native bee that nest in holes of trees or these nifty little houses…

mason bee house mason bee house

Remember when I Cut the Coleus?  The cuttings have wintered well


and now it’s time to take cuttings from my cuttings.

coleus cutting

The winter wheat planted in my garden area (as a cover crop) has done well even during the construction of the coop/shed.  The purpose of the cover crop is to provide weed control and add nitrogen to the soil when it’s tilled under and allowed to break down.


Next, I took soil samples from two garden areas.  A soil sample is a free service offered through the county extension office and will provide a detailed report of the nutrients in your soil.  If you are planning a garden this year, you should consider having this done.  For people in Washington county,  the extension office is across from the fair grounds entrance on McConnell St.  For my Madison county friends, ours is across from the middle school on 412 business.  You will want to get one box for each garden spot you want tested.  I picked up two boxes.  One for my vegetable garden and one for my new sweet potato bed.  Complete instructions are on the box.

soil samples soil sample

For each garden, dig about 6-8 inches into the soil and scoop up a small amount and place in a container.  Do this in several areas throughout your garden to get a variety of samples.  Mix well and place in the box.  Be sure to label all the boxes!  Drop them off at the extension office and in a seven to fourteen days, you will get an analysis of your soil and what needs to be added.

Next, I tackled the new sweet potato bed.  We had just enough old railroad ties to do the sides,

future potato bed

and I have been saving boxes to put down as a weed barrier.


I like using cardboard or newspapers for weed barriers as they will break down over time and become part of the soil.   Sheldon Gray Kitty Cooper arrived to do his inspection.  I’m sure he will have some insightful suggestions.

The calves were also watching the progress.


Do I like sweet potatoes?


Of course, you do!

Actually, their favorite food is sunflowers.  Grrr….

And what would I do without the constant support and supervision of my sweet Annie.


umm…can I have the keys?


I’ll be right back. I promise.

We’ve had a busy day!

Don’t forget to spring forward this weekend!


p.s.  12 days til spring!!!

About the blonde gardener

I'm an Arkansas girl born and raised. I garden in the beautiful Northwest part of the state (zone 6b or 7) surrounded by the Ozark Mountains. My favorite part about the area is we have 4 distinct seasons and are able to enjoy a variety of activities. My main passion is gardening but I also enjoy hiking, birding, 4-wheeling and motorcycle trips. Basically anything outside. Thanks for stopping by! Brenda
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12 Responses to March Madness

  1. I’m thinking about adding mason bees too. I need to do a little research about it. did you make the houses or buy them?


    • I bought them last year but set them out to late. You need to set them out when fruit trees begin to bloom in the early spring. My blackberries are getting ready to bloom so I will set them out soon. They only live a short while, but will lay the eggs in those tubes. I’m still learning about them and have found a website called that will send you monthly reminders about what to do. I’ll keep you posted.


  2. You’ve been busy! Your March madness is usually my April madness, except I have to be out of town most of the month, which drives me insane. I like the Mason Bee houses. I’ve also got to do cuttings of coleus so I don’t spend so much money on them every year. Also so I know I’ll have the varieties I like. Thanks for the nudge!


    • I’m feeling it this morning! I’m getting ready to be gone for a week, so I’m trying to stay ahead (like that has EVER happened). I can’t imagine being gone for a month during the spring. I would have a panic attack!


  3. Peter/Outlaw says:

    So, these bees go to the Masonic Lodge and have meetings? Two of my neighbors keep bees for honey and I love watching coming to my flowers and the especially love drinking at water bowls with floating plants in them. You sure are busy but this is the time of year for it! Only 12 days until spring? This winter is going by fairly quickly!


    • You crack me up! These bees are very interesting. They emerge in early spring when fruit trees begin to bloom and then are done by late spring. And yes! I’m very busy but trying to get things done before I leave on a spring break trip. Great motivation!


  4. The Granddaughter and I started seeds this week, and got some paint to mark the spots for the new beds…Now, if this snow would only GO AWAY…
    Happy (coming) Spring!


  5. Tammy says:

    Thanks for all the good information!! You are so organized.


  6. I’ve never been able to get coleus to overwinter and I live in Florida! But it gets cold in N.E. Florida and I’m too cheap to turn on the heater in the greenhouse.


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