Homesteading Chores in March

Reader Contribution by Anneli Carter-Sundqvist
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This is not a blog entry on what we did in March around the Homestead, but rather what we would have done, had this been a normal year, weather-wise. It’s only really been this last week that I’ve started to sense the possibility of even entering my garden again before say, Fourth of July, with all the snow we’ve gotten. The outdoor yard/garden season will begin about five weeks later than usual – that’s five weeks work that we’ll have to catch up. Good thing our feet are itching to get out there!

I would have planted my cold frames.Around the third week in March I usually start my brassica and leeks outdoors in our cold frames. Those are simple wooden boxes without bottom with glass panes as lids that we built ourselves. The Brassica (cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) can be direct seeded but in May we have both slugs and flea beetles in our garden which bigger plants have better resistance against. Short day varieties of these crops that are started at this time will yield already in July.

I would have pruned our fruit trees, grape vines and blueberry shrubs. Annual pruning is essential for high yield, health and longevity of fruit bearing plants. Most typically this is done after the last risk of severe cold but before the plants break dormancy. Some say to wait with more cold sensitive trees such as peaches until later in the spring, some say you can prune apples for example anytime of the year, some say the best time to prune is when you have the shears in your hand. There’s tons of information out there on how to prune different plants and when to do it. This year, the time will be when we can physically get close enough to do it.

I would have dug my parsnips. Oh, those sweet tasting parsnips that I usually pry from underneath the frozen seaweed in an early March thaw.

I take a last long look at the view from my bed a lazy, snowy last of March afternoon. ’Cause God knows, that once this season is going, it will go, with no looking back.

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