Garden Monthly Update: March 2017

Garden News

The warmer weather in March brought about the final harvest of lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, winter tomatoes and peas. The cooler weather vegetables began to bolt and I left some to flower for the bees and for seed collection.

Lots of cabbage harvested in March and I still have several green and 5 purple cabbage that will be harvested in April. The brussel sprouts finally began to bud, so still hopeful that these will be good producers in the coming month. The bulb onions planted in October are coming along nicely and should be harvesting the first of them in April. The grape vine is doing great and is over-whelmed with clusters of little grapes. The poms re-leafed in March and are already setting fruit. Both citrus trees bloomed in March and I expect them to bloom a second time in April.

The nasturtiums, poppy's, marigolds and African daisy's continued to bloom through March, but there are only a few poppy plants left as most went to seed and were pulled. I planted sunflowers and zinnias at the end of March.

The first of the chili peppers were harvested at the end of March and the zucchini plants are bursting with little zucs that should be ready in mid April.

All of the remaining dill was harvested and dried and a few cilantro plants have been left to go to seed. The anise, parsley, mint, chives, oregano, sage, thyme, marjoram and tarragon all rebounded in March.

We added a bee hive to the garden in March. The bees were captured from a friends backyard fruit tree and relocated to our new hive. They are settling in very well and seem to be very passive and happy bees. James has had to remove some honey comb already as they are proving to be a bit industrious and not sticking to the required format.

I planted chayote for the first time in March. I really like this vegetable, but getting the plant started from seed is a bit challenging. I managed to find a transplant at a local seed/plant sale. It is a real sun lover and great producer, so I am hoping that it will do well.


Web site updates - Separate recipe page and separate Q&A page added for easy access to all recipes and Q&A's.


March garden harvest picture - honey, green & red cabbage, spinach, kale, peas, peppers, parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano and chive, nasturtium, african daisy, gaillardia flowers.



We added a bee hive!

The snow peas were the great champions again through the winter/spring season.

The brussel sprouts have begun to bud.

I found a chayote transplant at a local sell and it is doing very well so far.


The last of the cool season leafy greens were harvested.

The 2nd bok choy planting bolted before maturing due to the hot temps.

"Hot" Topic

Summer planting - It is time to plan and plant your summer vegetables. A couple of my favorites are sweet potatoes and okra. They are both really gorgeous plants and they love the hot weather. Be aware that the okra will need to be picked every other or every day to get them when they are still young and tender. The sweet potato vine is very prolific and best if planted in a contained area. If you are planning to take a break over the summer, consider growing a cover crop in your planting bed. Cover crops like peas, beans, oats, can be very beneficial.

Tip of the Month

Cover crops - If you are planning to take a break over the summer, consider growing a cover crop in your planting bed. Cover crops like peas, beans, buckwheat, oats, can be very beneficial to your soil as they help pull nitrogen from the air into the soil, add organic matter and soil tilth, to replenish it for the following planting season. Soybeans and cowpeas are good summer cover crops.

See more info at:

April Do List

1. Turn the compost pile.

2. Use mulch on all bare soil.

3. Dead head roses.

4. Place shade cloth (no more than 50%) over tomatoes to keep out leaf hoppers.

5. Fertilize your producing vegetable plants, newly planted trees & shrubs.

April Don't List

1. Don't cheat on soil preparation.

2. Don't fertilize dormant Bermuda until late April/May.

3. Don't delay pest or weed control.

April Planting

Vegetables: (Blue font identifies "ideal" planting time items)

Seeds - snap beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, jicama, okra, green onions, radish, summer squash.

Transplants -



Herbs: Anise, Basil, Bay, Caraway, Chamomile, Chives, Epazote, French Tarragon, Lemon grass, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Rue, Safflower, Savory, Thyme.


Flowers: Alyssum, Begonias, Chrysanthemum, Celosia, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Gaillardia, Hibiscus, Hollyhock, Mirabilis jalapa, Marigold, Petunia, Portulaca, Society garlic, Sunflower, Vinca, Zinnia.


Fruit:  Cantaloupe

            - Transplants: Grape, all sub-tropical


Recipe of the Month

-  Jicama Salad

 -  A unique side salad.


Best Advice

Crop/Plant Rotation: Growing one type of vegetable from the same family in one area for a long period of time may lead to a decline in soil fertility and higher incidences of certain insect pests and disease problems. Soil-borne disease-causing organisms tend to persist in the soil for a long period of time, and some of these organisms tend to attack vegetables from the same botanic families.

Vegetables that are in the same botanical family should not be grown in the same area for at least three years. For example, watermelon, cucumber, squash, cantaloupe and pumpkins are in the Cucurbitaceae family and often are attacked by the same disease organisms. Rotating curcurbits with vegetables in the Solanaceae family such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplants or potatoes can potentially lower the incidence of diseases. Legumes like peas and beans can help replenish the soil with nitrogen from the air, so these are good to plant in an area after heavy feeding plant types like melons, cabbage, broccoli.  See also vegetable plant families and their characteristics


Garden Books: Extreme Gardening by Dave Owens and Desert Gardening for Beginners by Cathy Cromell, Linda Guy and Lucy Bradley.

Web Sites:



Q: I planted a jacaranda tree that is about 9 feet tall and looks good so far. How long should I wait before removing the wooden stake that it's tied to? It looks really tight and suffocating!!

A: Ideally it would be best to not to have to stake your transplanted tree, however reality is that depending on how the nursery has trimmed the tree in their care, it may not have the proper stability when transplanted. If the tree is not stable enough to not blow over or fall over, then some proper staking may be required for a short time. Typically what is provided by the nursery is not the proper staking for the tree once transplanted. So, without a picture of your tree, I will provide you with some questions that will help you assess if the tree needs to be staked.


1. Does your tree have many small branches along the entire length of the trunk? In other words have all of the lower branches been trimmed off to form the classic tree shape?

- If you do not have the lower branches that would be normal for an immature tree that help the girth of the tree to become larger, then the tree may not have enough trunk girth to make it stable, the proper staking would be recommended for a short time.

2. Was the tree staked in the pot that you purchased it in?

- If it was being held up by a stake when purchased, then it may have prevented the tree from becoming strong enough on its own. Trees/plants need to be able to sway with the wind as this helps the trees wood fibers to become stronger.


So, if these couple questions have led you to the answer that your tree may need some proper staking, then here is how you would want to go about doing it, with the intent that it is a short term therapy.


Proper tree staking:


Stake Material: At least 2 Posts of wood or metal of sufficient diameter for the tree (at least 2).


Size: The posts should be no taller than the lowest branches of the tree once placed in the ground. Proper height will allow the tree to sway in the wind as needed without the branches hitting into the stakes.


Tie Material: You want to minimize contact with the trunk or stem. The best ties are soft but durable nylon straps. Wire inserted into a section of garden hose is acceptable. Never use bare wire. The tree should be allowed to move in the wind, so care should be taken to ensure the ties do not bind tightly or rub the trunk, causing a wound. Remember that just inside the bark layer is the cambium layer and this is critical to the nutrient flow for your tree, any damage to this layer may impact the health of your tree.


Stake position: If using 2 stakes, then place them inline perpendicular to the prevailing wind direction (typically southwest in the valley, but you can have a different flow based on your neighborhood). For example if your tree is exposed to winds blowing west to east, place 1 stake north and 1 stake south of your tree. The stakes should be positioned beyond the root ball of the tree to avoid any root damage. Sink them deeply enough so they do not move. Make sure they are no higher than the lowest branches of the tree. 

Tie position: Place the ties at six inches above the lowest point on the trunk where using your hands as the ties, the tree is standing upright.


Inspection Monthly: Most important is to inspect the staking monthly. Are the stakes in good shape and still providing support? Have the ties done any visible damage to the trunk? You should untie them periodically and reposition them according to the tie position instructions. As the trunk builds strength, the tie attachment point should move lower down the tree. Eventually, you will untie your stakes and your tree will remain upright. This is the point to remove the stakes.

For more information please refer to:

2017 Preview

Biointensive Gardening and Square foot Gardening

March Pictures

Link to Photos Here


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