March 2020 Garden Update

We had a different sort of month in March, and I suspect you did, too. While it was already sweeping the world in 2019, in March, Florida started feeling the effects of COVID-19.

With everything shutting down, including parks, beaches, churches, and the gathering of friends, this has certainly been a different season that we’re all living in. And while the world doesn’t need to hear my opinion of what’s going on in this time of unknown and uncertainty, I will share what I’m personally thankful for.

March Gratitude

I’m thankful for the outdoors. The fresh air. The vitamin D. The grounding if you’re barefooting it. The stillness that allows you the time to be with your thoughts and to pray. The outdoors is limited right now to the local neighborhood. But I’m thankful to be able to step outside and take a deep breath and say, “Ah, I’m alive.” I’m not sure if anything feels as freeing as simply being outside. 🌳

I’m thankful for the relationships I have that mean so much to me. Even during times of social distancing, my family and friends have remained close to me. Whether a text message, a phone call, or a skype date. I am thankful for the strangers I pass during my jogs who wave and smile and say hello. It’s a small kindness. A small and fleeting connection. 💗 But it’s felt to my very core. 

I’m thankful for my unquenchable desire to learn. My shelf of to-be-read books is getting read. 😅 And my job allows me to gain new skills from the comfort of my home.

I’m thankful for the peace that I have. No matter what happens, even if tomorrow brings something scary, I have a peace. I believe in a Creator. And I believe in a personal relationship with that Creator through His Son. I believe there is more than just this life. I believe that this life has a purpose. And I believe that each of us is so very important and loved. 

And I am thankful for my backyard garden. I am thankful for a corner of the world where I get to grow fresh, organic food. And I’m thankful I get to share it with you. 😊

What’s Growing in March

March was the last month for cool-season crops like cabbage, broccoli, and kale. It was also a month for some more tropical surprises as my pineapple plant started to set fruit and ginger was harvested from the ground.

Here’s what was growing in March here in hardiness zone 9b:

Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, green beans, green onions, kale, peppers, tomatoes, and onions.  

Fruit: Blueberries, Key limes, Limequats, Meyers lemon, pineapple, raspberries, and strawberries.

Flowers: Cosmos, delphiniums, gardenias, Mexican heather, marigolds, mums, snapdragons, and roses.

Herbs: Chives, cilantro, elderberry, and ginger.

If you’ve been following, or know anything about growing pineapple, this little guy has been growing since July 2018. Yeah, you read that right. Pineapple typically takes 2 years to grow. I’m guessing he’ll be ready sometime this summer.  

March Happenings and Shenanigans

While self-isolation became more and more apparent across the US, the backyard garden started to get more and more attention. And what better month to get active in the garden, than the first month of spring?!

Transplants and Seed Purchases

In March I transplanted my tomatoes and pepper plants that I started indoors. I planted 3 varieties of tomatoes: San Marzano, Roma, and Money Makers. While I had also planted Brandywine seeds, it appears those seeds might have been a bit old and didn’t germinate. The peppers I planted were banana peppers, jalapenos, and chile peppers.

I also transplanted the marigolds and cosmos I started. I love these double click cosmos.

Luckily for me, the Brandywine seeds not germinating was a perfect excuse to make another seed purchase from Botanical Interests. They’re still by far my favorite seed company due to their diversification, reliability, and heirloom and organic seed options. Due to everything going on, I’m not sure when my seeds will arrive, but if they come soon enough I’ll be planting some melons. 🍉

Raised Bed Makeover – Part 2

Last month I rebuilt one of my raised beds, and in March I started pulling up the old wood from another raised bed that I have. This time I plan to replace it with cedar planks. These raised beds were originally built with non-pressure treated pine, but the cedar will last much longer.

I’m also adjusting the size of the bed. Previously it was 8’x4′ and a foot tall. The new design will be 6’x4′ and only 6 inches tall. The reason why I’m making the bed shorter is that I originally built this bed right up along a south-facing fence. If you’ve designed a garden before you may already know why this was an issue for me. During the winter about half my garden bed is covered with a shadow. I’m also making the bed shallower so that I don’t have to fill it with more dirt. Over time the level of dirt has gone down and I didn’t want to spend more money on filling the bed. It’s also a test to see if it performs as well as the other beds. I will also continue to replace my 2x4s stakes in each corner with these corner brackets

Splish Splash! 💦

OK, so maybe this isn’t quite garden related. But it is located IN the garden.

One of the fun parts of living in Florida is being just a short drive away from the beach. But with the beaches shut down, and community pools closed, what’s a Floridian to do during some of our best beach weather? 

Enter the inflatable pool.

I’m pretty sure the last time I had an inflatable pool I was about 8 years old, but this has been, hands down, the best investment I’ve made so far in 2020. I’m not sure how many inflatable pools are available online at this time, but this was the Intex Pool that I purchased at the beginning of March. And it has brought me a good bit of joy despite everything else going on. 

I know this is primarily a source for gardening, but I want to encourage you during the month of April to find ways to appreciate what you have, and to look at this time as an opportunity. If you find you have more time on your hands, use it in a way that you might not have otherwise. And maybe for you that’s starting a garden. And maybe it’s something else. 

I’d love to hear how you’re doing, whether it be about your garden or anything else you’re dealing with during this season. Comment below!

Stay Safe and Happy Gardening!

4 Comments

  1. Hello! so glad I found your site, I was looking for a month to month garden guide for my zone 9B in central Florida. I am putting in 4, 3 by 12 raised beds, and will be planting soon, I have been researching different veggies that can take the summer heat. I really enjoyed reading your blog, and am looking forward to following your month to month garden adventures! God bless you!

  2. I found your website when I was looking up ways to grow things in zone 9b, we planted our garden over the weekend and I’m eager to get things growing 🙂 thanks for your website! Super useful!

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