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!!!