The second trial of onion seeds were a success, and I planted them outside along with the cut, sprouting roots of green onions and sprouted garlic purchased at the grocery store. The unexpected snow fall acted as an insulating blanket, assuring their recovery 24 hours later. It will be interesting to see their further growth and development. The seeds that I used for winter sowing have not sprouted yet. I will keep you updated on that garden trial.
With the warming trend, we have a busy month ahead. It is time to sow seeds indoors for outdoor planting at a later date. Consider salvias and basil seeds now. Mulch can be moved back now or even removed so that the soil can warm up. Some plants with a greater root system, such as mints, bee balms, tarragon, or Artemisia could be divided to allow more room for further growth. Perennial herbs can also be moved and divided. As you do so, trim the damaged and dead parts of your plants. When you notice the new growth developing, then trim sage, rosemary, and thyme back to about 8″ to10”. This will promote vigorous new growth. As for lavender, save those clippings and try starting new plants in a good rooting medium.
Continuing the ‘Sweet Potato Saga’, I will be dedicating three raised beds for their cultivation this year. Last week, garden soil was ordered and has been wheelbarrowed into place!
I checked into the availability of the fertilizers recommended by Jeff Carnahan of the UDSA who oversees The People’s Community Garden in Bartlett. Carnahan suggests using 8-8-8 and 0-0-45 during planting time. Also, because of the rising cost of fertilizers, he recommends that the amendments should not be just broadcast over the whole bed, but rather placed judiciously in proximity of the planting row. These amendments are only to be using during planting time. With rising inflation and food prices, we too can have a very successful sweet potato crop with which to stock our pantry. I do hope everyone will try to stir fry some of the younger leaves this summer and be pleasantly surprised at how tasty they are.
Sweet potatoes are propagated using slips which are the green, leafy growths from the potatoes. Usually, slips have been available in 100 count lots at farm stores, but last year they were impossible to find, even after calling extension agents and co-ops in surrounding counties, including Arkansas. Lowe’s 6-pack was pricey which can be prohibitive for the family garden. I had started one potato suspended in water with toothpicks and had lackluster results. This year I will be using MHS member Teresa Horn’s method (as shown on her youtube channel “Old Ways Gardening and Prepping“) and planting the potato in a pot of good soil to get quicker sprouting results. Reminder, always keep one handsome, healthy sweet potato for propagation to insure next year’s crop!
Upcoming! Herbal Work Study at the MBG will help us with more tips and information on “What to do With the Herbs You Just Bought” as we do our part in beautifying the garden! See you on April 2nd at 8:30am! See you there!
~~ Reni Erskine