Ready, Set, Plant


By Linda Wiggen Kraft

This year spring is a most welcome time. The soon greening earth and longer days are balms for our souls. Last year, gardens helped us find solace, food and beauty. We can again find that healing when we can put our hands back into the soil. Fortunately, March is the month when the gardening season really starts and our hands can get dirty. It is the perfect time to plant seeds of cool weather veggies and a few flowers. Even though our last frost date is usually mid-April, these plants will withstand some below freezing weather and snow when planted in March.  

Gardening, especially vegetable gardening, was very popular in 2020. With Covid forcing us to stay home, many experienced and new gardeners bought out seed companies and nursery stock. In fact most seed companies and nurseries sold more seeds, plants and gardening supplies in 2020 than ever before.  This year gardening is expected to be as popular, maybe more.  Seeds and seedlings can be found at local nurseries or bought online.  Seed companies may be slower than usual in getting seed orders out, so order as soon as you can. 

Our local Gateway Greening has an excellent vegetable garden chart titled “2021 Gateway Greening Planting Calendar”.  Just google those words and a PDF chart comes up that shows month by month when to plant seeds indoors, when to sow seeds in the ground, when to transplant seedlings in the ground, the months the plant will grow and when to harvest. 

Peas can be planted earliest in March. There are snow peas, snap peas and shelling peas.  A favorite is Oregon Giant snow pea, where the pod and pea are both eaten.  The foliage of all pea plants taste like the peas themselves. Some have beautiful flowers like Golden Sweet snow pea with purple flowers. 

Around mid-March other seeds that can go in the ground are: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, collard greens, chard, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, parsley spinach, pok choy, radishes and turnips. These plants like cooler weather and will be sweetest then. The plants grown in spring will be harvested before the end of the summer. New plants can be grown from seed and planted again in late summer or fall for a late season crop. 

Seed companies that specialize in vegetables will offer seeds for both cool and warm season growing. Lettuce and spinach are the most popular veggies from this list with the most choices of seed varieties for both cool and warm weather. Lettuce especially has varieties for both cool weather and hot summers. Two edible flowers whose seeds can be sown in March are calendula and nasturtium. There are many choices of flower and foliage color for these two plants.

Experiment with eating the parts of the plant that are often put in the compost. Leaves of broccoli, carrots, radish and turnips are all edible. Broccoli and pea leaves taste like the fruit of these plants.  Use the greens of these plants in salads, soups and stir fry.  

When buying seeds make sure to get enough to plant not only in the spring, but also later in summer and fall. Enjoy the start of garden season in March by planting those seeds that bring food for our bodies and beauty for our souls.  

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She offers Creativity Journeys, Mandala and Nature Journey workshops. More info is at her website and blog at: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com Call her at 314 504-4266.