Here at Rocky Mountain we are excited to prepare for our out door garden classes teaching students and teachers how to grow their own food. This year we will be working at school gardens at Lord Tennyson Elementary School & Trafalgar Elementary School growing snap peas, sun flowers, herbs, potatoes, greens, Kale, Chard, Spinach, radishes and more. Garlic planted back in October in the school gardens is now poking their heads through the soil.
Start broccoli, cabbage, leeks, lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, cauliflower.
Peppers are slow to sprout—and not that productive in many BC gardens. If you really want to grow peppers a heated greenhouse is helpful! Seed in the first week of March at the latest. Give them bottom heat and as much light as possible.
We often hear about not digging until “soil can be worked.” What does this mean, exactly? Soil shouldn’t be clumped in muddy clods. A clue: self-sown seedlings of kale, arugula, mache will abound (weeds, too); chives poke up. If it’s been raining heavily, or soil looks and feels waterlogged, wait a week or two.
Some gardeners prefer to interfere minimally with the soil—I am one of those. Creatures have been labouring long hours, layering the soil perfectly, like a lasagna, so I am loathe to plunge a shovel in. There are schools of gardening thought (Ruth Stout, for example) where gardening is done using this “barely scratching the surface” method, usually also piling on the mulch. If you are interested, check out Ruth Stout’s “no dig” method of gardening—also Esther Dean’s and others.
Avoid using fresh manure and unripe compost in veggie gardens, as they will leach nutrients from plants.
Soil is still too cool to plant carrots, chard, or beets. Wait until late April or until soil temperature is over 55F.
When the ground can be worked:
Direct-sow arugula, broad beans, mache, corn salad, kale, broccoli raab (rapini), dandelion greens (not real dandelions, but a type of chicory), Asian greens, radishes.
Peas: soil is still cool, so use inoculant. It increases microbial activity around the seed and allows peas to sprout in cool soil.
Give potatoes an early start: put one or two ‘seed’ potatoes per one-gallon black pot in a lofty slightly acidic soil mix—peat moss (if you use it) mixed with garden soil half and half is fine. Keep these in an unheated greenhouse or on the porch and plant out in April when soil ‘can be worked’!