March Madness In The Garden


By Linda Wiggen Kraft,
Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

There is madness and there is madness. The March madness of the garden is not about winning and losing, it is about all of us winning. Winning the joy of increasing sunlight and spring finally arriving. It is the celebration of the awakening of mother earth as greenery and blossoms emerge from the depths of winter. It is a time of living colors that infuse our eyes, bodies and souls with perfection of form. How can we not feel flutters in our hearts and smiles on our faces? There is a madness too of bringing life to the garden with seeds planted inside and outdoors.

I remember a few years back driving with my teenage son through city streets full of pink redbud blossoms, early blooming rhododendrons, daffodils and early tulips. As we drove along he suddenly said, “this is ridiculous” in a loud voice. I thought he was talking about some teenage drama, instead he continued, “this is ridiculous how these colors have exploded wherever you look”. He loved the beauty and perhaps in a more direct way described what goes on in March. It is amazing and ridiculous, in all good ways.

I remember also many years of starting seeds indoors and outdoors in March and feeling the joy of putting a tiny seed into the soil and waiting in anticipation for it to grow. I still feel that hope welling up, not just hope for the plants, but hope that the miracles and power of nature have greater and stronger wisdom than I will ever have, and that I will work with that wisdom and power instead of against it.

Each March, I gather the cache of seeds in their small packages and divide them into those going directly into the garden and those going indoors under lights. Most indoor seeds need 4 to 6 weeks of growing indoors before being hardened off and planted outside. Cool weather vegetables and flowers can be sown directly in the ground from mid to late March. These hardy plants won’t mind a frost or snow. Outside I plant arugula, beets, broccoli, cabbage, calendula, carrots, collards, kale, kohlrobi, lettuce, nasturtiums, peas, poppies, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, and turnips. Indoors I start seeds that like warmer weather like tomatoes and zinnias, or wait until the soil is warm enough to plant directly outside.

Let March fill you with the gladness and madness of the beginning of another glorious year of gardening. Enjoy it all.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. Visit her blog: CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or on her website: CreativityForTheSoul.com. Call her at (314) 504-4266.