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March Garden Roundup

At the start of the month, the most surprising plants were all the youngest ones. The cress became like a weed, or un-brushed hair. I’m not quite sure what to do with it except throw it on a cold salad – maybe dice it up for an antipasto? The Billy Balls started to develop some size and definition in some of the larger leaves (beyond just being ‘vaguely noodle-shaped’). The sunflower gained more leaves, though not much more height. The tomatoes gained even more breadth and leaf size. The peppers woke up. It was a bonanza. 

Tonight, in the middle of the first week of March, it’s time to transplant some plants. First thing’s first – the tomato seedlings need some new homes. Currently they’re growing in little peat moss disks, but roots are starting to come out of the bottom. I have two moderately larger pots to put some seedlings in, and I’m planning on picking up more soon. They’ll rest and acclimatize here while I prepare their future homes outside. In the meanwhile, I’ll hand a couple seedlings off as gifts. That leaves me a couple of each variety just in case the transplanted ones fail. The peppers still need some time to grow, so I can worry about transplanting them later. The sunflower had to move to a new home recently, so it won’t be transplanted for a while either. 

The Billy Balls are starting to really startle me. I get the feeling that, as things warm up, they’ll grow even faster. I need to get them into larger homes soon, though – I can see through the side of the clear containers that their roots have reached the bottom. The Boston Fern, too, needs to be moved to a new home. As spring rolls around, I’d like it to have plenty of room to grow into.

Looks like the first weekend in March will contain quite a bit of transplanting! Will take notes here as they get going…

Prepped 5 pots of 4” size. Transplanted 2 billy balls, 2 tomatoes (1 of each variety) after pruning seed pods down to 1 a piece, and the mint experiment. 

A few days after transplanting into the new pots: The Billy Balls are the seedlings I’m being most cautious about – I don’t have any other seeds, and I really would like them to succeed. I’m just not quite sure when and how to grow them. They’re from the Southern Hemisphere, and I’m trying to get them going in the Northern Hemisphere. So that’s one thing. Anyway, the leaves are really coming in strong, but the stem seems unfortunately weak. The stems on all the seedlings seem barely thicker than when they first popped out of the dirt. Some leaves are already 3 to 5 inches long, but there’s no sign of strength. Maybe they need some wind to be encouraged to grow? I’ve taken to poking them on occasion to rehabilitate them, but no luck so far.

The tomatoes haven’t seemed to strengthen much either. They’re growing in size now that they’ve moved from the seed chamber to the window pots, but I’m thinking I should have buried the seedlings a little deeper. I’ve got one each of the Roma and Cherry tomatoes in new homes, which leaves me 2 other seedlings still in the mini greenhouse chamber just in case something happens. 

The mint revival attempt is going quite well. From a near-dead cutting of a fine-smelling mint, I’ve started a very tiny clone. The leaves are even miniature – not something I intended, but it’s pretty darn adorable. I’m hoping it eventually grows big leaves, or an extra serving of these tiny ones. For now, most of the growing is going on underground. I had started this cutting in a cup of water, when only the bottom inch was alive. All the leaf growth on the cutting happened underwater, in between the roots. Right now, many of those tiny leaves are underground. Some are finally starting to peek through the dirt.

Then, in the first weekend of March, it was time for the big garden overhaul. Arguably, this isn’t the best time; the low temps are about the same as February (45-50F, 7-10C), and the wind is higher than in late February (from 8mph/12kph, to 20mph/32kph). Still, the days don’t seem quite as chilly. I’m trying to time the market. Probably not the best idea, but I’ll cross my fingers and keep a few extra seedlings inside.

First step, I needed to play musical chairs with some pots; The strawberry moved from its old terracotta pot to a new long, self-watering planter. That freed up the terracotta pot (and its shady space on the balcony) for the bloodleaf to move into. Nearly doubled the room for the bloodleaf’s roots. Freeing up the bloodleaf’s old planter (with its many, many drainage holes around the perimeter) gave me a spot to transplant two Billy Balls. I think the soil might have compacted when I started the seedlings, so this change in scenery is a bit of apology and course-correction for them. 

The old tomato pot has been thoroughly cleaned after my poor keeping of the previous tomato. Threw out the dirt, scrubbed and washed it, let it dry in the sun for a couple days. Now it’s home to a cherry tomato plant. The old blueberry wooden pot got refreshed with new soil, and now houses a roma tomato. To try to not get diseases again, I’ve separated them on the balcony. Their pots may have to dance around in the future to stay in the sun.

One tiny pepper seedling has gone in the ceramic pig with the paperwhites. By the time the paperwhites die off, the pepper should be taking over the room in the pot. There’s plenty of root room for them both, but the pepper will probably reach farther into the belly of the pig pot. 

The paperwhites continue to grow. About a foot tall. Second blooms coming in soon. Had two bulbs – one went firmly towards flowers, the other to foliage. Totally opposite personalities.

Still eating cress. Latest discovery – goes well diced on pizza. Cut fresh from the garden to thin between the crops. Re-sowed some seeds today for more in a few weeks. I’m enjoying this constant production of edible greenery in such a small space.

In the second week of March, the garden got a start in the form of succulent propagation. I took a number of leaves and little split parts (in addition to a much needed pruning of the Stonecrop), and let them dry over the weekend. Today they’re going into some mix and sitting near a sunny window. Here’s to hoping they do well! I always want some more cacti.

Split the fern and took half of it to work. The half that’s at home has a new fiddlehead (is that what it’s called?), while the half going to work also includes a few fronds that ripped off by accident. I’ve prepared them a happy and humid home with grow lights, surrounded by plant friends that should help with their transpiration. 

In the second week(end) of March, I got the sunflower ready for transplant. It will need a large pot, as this should be a full sized sunflower. The pot is about 12” deep and maybe 18” across, round and curved like a half-barrel. I cut a number of extra holes in the bottom to help with drainage. For the soil, I’ll be trying a mix mostly comprised of cacti planting soil. I’ve found that normal potting soil tends to compact pretty heavily… and trying to grow the seedling in the same mix has gone pretty amazingly. The roots are already at the bottom of the 4” pot that it’s been placed in, so it’s about time to move up. I’ll work on hardening the plant off over the next few days (moving it outside to experience the wind and chill and hard sun, then back in). This feels like something to transplant on Sunday. 

The wife and I visited a lovely little plant shop up in Glendale – SarahCotta. Only two people are allowed in at a time, and there’s a line. We didn’t want to take too long, so we picked two plants pretty much on whim. One is a lovely little marimo moss ball, the other is a lively Calathea Beauty Star. I had a marimo moss ball years ago, but its enclosure fell and a stranger stepped on it. This one will not be allowed to play with strangers for a while. 

In the third week of March, the plants have started to wake up to Spring. There’s been some occasional rain and wind (some truly ferocious wind that tore down half a tree in the road outside), but not like in February. Winter seems to be hanging on a little longer than expected. The Ginkgo has yet to wake up, which is my usual cue on the beginning of Spring. 

Got some blackberry cuttings from the wild. Not sure which species this one is exactly – but I’ll find out soon! One cutting has decided to start sprouting buds before it begins sprouting roots, but it’s also the cutting that’s staying in the best of health. The leaves are happy and bright (bright!) green, while the other two cuttings are on the quick route to the compost pile. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping this cutting gets going – probably going to be a good idea to clip the buds to devote energy to the roots. 

The mint has moved its way outside. Here’s to hoping the already-established thyme and rosemary don’t get choked out by this refreshing invader. This was a particularly good flavor of mint that I got started from a cutting – it’s been surviving, but staying incredibly small. Like it decided being miniature was the surest way to survival. 

The Billy Balls seem to be remarkably good at not agreeing on their rate of growth. The two seedlings that were moved to a large pot have stayed small and not grown any additional leaves. The two that were given separate pots and privileged window positions have grown more and more leaves, but not any increase in size. The one left in the original seed-starting trough has grown the largest leaves by far – but hasn’t added any new ones in a while. The roots of the separately-potted Craspedia are sticking out of the drainage hole of the pots, and it’s about time to move them on up. 

The latter end of March was full of transplants and seedlings. 

The original set of outdoor tomatoes had been too ravaged by wind and a sudden cold snap. They had to go. Fortunately, I had a spare pair of tomato seedlings! Learning from last time, I planted these much deeper. Hopefully the stems will form good roots after how tall they managed to get indoors. So far, they seem to be chugging along quite nicely. They haven’t grown much in height yet, but they’ve both broadened. The weather is warming up, which should help nicely. And I’m using mulch

The Billy Buttons have all been moved outside. The largest one has moved into the ceramic pig to join the paperwhites. The other pair are sharing a colorful pot of their own. All three are doing quite well, adding a few leaves each. The leaves on the largest BB are much thicker than I’d expected – hopefully they’ll feed the new plant in its relatively deep home. The pair have added a few leaves each, but have not increased in size. I hope they aren’t fighting over root space!

The Garden Cress is growing ever more ferociously. It’s gotten to the point that the stem is as thick as a #2 ticonderoga pencil, standing straight up to over a foot in height. A bundle of flowers is forming at the crown, though it hasn’t quite bloomed yet. It will soon… if the rest of the plant’s growth is any indication. I’ve been eating them as often as I feel like now, content to let the plants go to flower as they feel like it. I want to know what the Garden Cress tastes like after it flowers. 

Weather’s warming up! Spring has finally sprung – the equinox was back on the 21st, I think – and the outdoors are responding in kind. The wind has died down from its January and February ferocity, too. All the plants are growing like their life depends on it. 

Towards the end of March (the 28th), the Ginkgo finally started putting out its little green buds. Success! It survived another winter. This one kept on for a couple extra weeks compared to last year, but all good nonetheless. The little green buds are starting to pop up on all the branches, fairly well spread out. None of them are large enough to be considered anything like a leaf, but they’re showing the flat-bladed-screwdriver split that’s going to turn into the biloba part of the tree. I’m so happy it made its way through another winter. Now I don’t have to worry quite so much that something bad is happening that I can’t see beneath the dirt.

The outside wildflowers are starting to grow into respectable little seedlings. This mix of seeds is more than a few years old, so I’m glad they’ve been waking up! I spread the seeds across a few different mediums – microgreen hemp growing pads, sown into (and onto) dirt, and in little cups inside. The seeds seem happiest when mixed with dirt and tossed atop other dirt outside. I guess that makes sense… they are supposed to be wildflowers! 

Hummingbirds are swarming the feeder now. There’ve been times where all four flower spots are taken up, and two other birds are jockeying for position. It’s such a lovely sight to see after Hummin’eezer passed during late winter. I’m sure he’d be proud, though also screaming at them all for eating from his favorite spot.



Thanks for stopping by! I hope you had a pleasant time checking out the plants. If you’re in the mood for more nature, take a gander at my other spots for media:

And if you’ve got some time that needs a few extra birds, go ahead and check out a recent recording of bird calls in a canyon, under the sounds of water falling on bamboo. Guaranteed to be more peaceful than just sitting in traffic! Available on Anchor or wherever you get your podcasts – just search for MindFol!

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