The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Vegetable garden at the end of March

Leaf lettuce

Accessing lettuce in a quick hoopWhat does our garden look like at the end of March?  Mostly, it looks like lettuce --- great big gobs of brilliantly green leaves to eat every day.  We've been nibbling on lettuce for about a fortnight, but only in the last week has the growth reached the point that salad is a daily affair.  Mark showed me that I can carefully lift the edges of the quick hoop up without tearing the fabric, so I've decided the beds are even easier to get into than my old cold frames were, and the speedy access means I think nothing of running out to cut a salad for lunch.

Eggs and onionsEgyptian onions are growing far faster than we can eat them at the moment, and the parsley is finally coming out of its winter slump.  The parsley plants that I seeded last fall survived the winter and would probably be pretty big if I hadn't been snipping off nearly every new leaf as soon as it appears starting in February.  Add in eggs --- the other mainstay of the spring diet --- and you've got the best egg salad we've ever eaten.

We're also trying to eat up (or freeze) the last of the butternuts before their centers get too dry.  The potatoes in the crisper drawer of the fridge are good for months yet, but the sweet potatoes are developing bad spots --- my fault for letting them sit on the cold floor through the deepest part of the winter.  The same problematic storage conditions are tempting my garlic to sprout.  It looks like we're going to have enough storage vegetables to carry us through despite these problems, and we're already losing interest in winter fare as the fresh garden goodies begin to roll in.

Young pea plantNearly everything I've planted this spring is already up and running --- storage onions both in the quick hoops and out, broccoli and cabbage sets in quick hoops, Asian greens and swiss chard in the open.  Breadseed poppies are thriving and our second planting of peas is already up and growing, though the earlier seedlings are about three inches taller.  I'm still waiting on parsley, carrots, spinach, and garbanzo beans to poke above the soil surface, but given our frequent rains this week, I suspect they've already germinated.  Even the chicory seeds I tossed on new hugelkultur mounds in the forest garden have sprouted.

Next up --- tomatoes in a quick hoop next week and lettuce out in the open.  I've started peppers inside and will be transplanting broccoli and cabbage seedlings out of their protective covering as soon as the plants get a few true leaves.  Otherwise, though, I'm looking forward to the April garden "lull" to give me time to weed and mulch our existing beds and prepare the soil for the huge May rush.

Our chicken waterer makes chicken care a breeze and gives us time to grow a big garden.

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

Your garden looks like it's coming up pretty nice. My peas are just starting to come up and it looks like my strawberries might have actually survived the winter. The plants are in a basket, I mulched the top, but I probably should have given the basket itself some insulation. I'm also very excited that the onion plant I didn't pull up in the fall, because it was too small, has come back. I really need to get some lettuce seeds to get in the containers so I can get a small crop in before the tomatoes get transplanted in about 6 weeks.
Comment by Edward Antrobus Fri Apr 1 17:10:39 2011
I know how tough it can be to keep container plants alive over the winter. Sounds like you did a great job!
Comment by anna Fri Apr 1 18:54:32 2011

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.