The peas pushing up the lid on the seed starting tray

My March Garden… Or is it My Garden March?

The super-tall peas taking over my living roomHome Depot sent me a lovely email telling me now is the time to start planting my seeds indoors so I will actually see a crop this summer. After all, I live in Duluth, MN—Zone 3. Our “growing” season is about 2 months long. I’m already really excited about starting my garden because I now have a house with a BIG back yard to put to good use. So I booked it to Wal-Mart (there’s no way I’m paying twice the price for the same seeds at Home Depot; sorry!) and bought a Jiffy seed starting tray and seed starting potting mix as well as sugar snap peas, cucumbers, red peppers, watermelon, chives, basil, sage and eggplant seeds. I set to work starting my seeds dutifully, as Home Depot had said, not really expecting much.

Ok, I am not a pro at gardening—I tried it last year when we lived in an apartment (there was a small back yard) and we got a handful of really bitter cucumbers, 2 or 3 pea pods, no carrots and moldy tomatoes. Understandably I wasn’t expecting much here. After 5 days the peas and cucumbers had not only sprouted but were 2-3 inches tall! After another 2 days the peas and cucumbers were so tall they were pushing up the lid on the seed starting tray!

I wasn’t expecting this at all and was woefully unprepared. What am I going to do with 30 pea plants in March?! Had I been smarter, I would have researched data like the average last frost date and how many days to harvest my veggies have . Then I would have known that if I planted my seeds on March 2nd, as I did, they would bear a harvest approximately 10 days before the average last frost date, May 21st. I also would have thought to myself, “hm, maybe I don’t really need to have peas and watermelons right away in May. Perhaps I can, I dunno, let nature do it’s thing and grow at the proper time.” Sigh. Hindsight.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. I now have an army of peas and cucumbers and I’m not entirely certain what to do. I can’t put them in my basement because it’s FREEZING down there. There’s not space to have 2′ high plants in my dining or living room, where the sprouts are now. Where do I put them? How do I move them? How can I make this work so that I can just put them outside when the time comes? All questions I could have avoided had I just thought a little before listening to Home Depot’s gardening newsletter.

Transplanted-IndoorsAt some point in the past my mom had given me a plant light so I told my husband that now was the time to use it. I went to Home Depot, bought some lumber and shelves, as well as some larger peat pots and more potting soil. I set to work transplanting the peas and cucumbers into larger homes and M set about building a shelving system for them.

It’s not perfect or pretty, but it’s something. I now have my Plant Apparatus, as I like to call it, and M got to use his drill—always something he enjoys. We’re also making better use of our second bedroom. Hopefully the peas will slow their Growing March to a crawl because if they don’t I am pretty sure I’ll have to throw some of them away in the interest of space. I suppose too many plants are better than not enough.

Now… what to do with the watermelons when they get too big…

Plant Growing Shelves

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7 thoughts on “My March Garden… Or is it My Garden March?

  1. How freezing is your basement? Is it above 32F? This could be a useful place to acclimate your plants to being outside. It will also slow the growing process if it is cold…but not below freezing.

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    1. I don’t think it’s below 32. None of our pipes are insulated so if it did get below freezing we’d be in big trouble. But it is quite cold. Maybe I will try putting one or two of my peas down there and see what happens. I need to make room for the watermelon that is getting too big now…

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  2. This made me LOL! sorry to laugh at your distraught over peas. But as you said hindsight. I have wild mustard greens then went to seed my first year here and sprout up in the garden everyyear now. and in the yard, neighbors yard… yeah it’s fun. 🙂 oh and last year it was too wet, we had SLUGS everywhere. yuck. hope garden goes better for both of us this year.

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    1. Yeah we got slugs in our container garden last year; we got so much rain here too that everything drowned and our tomatoes ended up getting a fungus inside. They rotted from the inside out. I’m hoping, though, that a normal in-the-ground garden will do better than our container attempt.

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  3. By the way, I tried putting a couple of the peas in the basement to see how they would do and so far so good! They haven’t died yet and although I can’t tell if they’ve slowed their growth they are definitely not growing faster! The next step is to figure out a way to put it all in the basement but keep it away from the cat who seems to like all things green.

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  4. OMG!! I just figured out how to go back and read a thread!

    There is a lovely product out there called Slug Magic. It really works! and it is not harmful to pets….so I’m guessing not harmful to us? Anyway, I used it in the flower garden when slugs destroyed my Hostas. The cats love to be out there so I looked for a product that wasn’t toxic to mammals. BTW thanks to M for diagnosing my slug problem to begin with! I never saw the little buggars, but he showed me the signs of slug vandalism.

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    1. Hopefully it won’t be so wet this year, but if it is and we get slugs I’ll look for that stuff. I’m more worried about the deer though. We’re keeping the garden right next to the house so hopefully that will help to deter them

      p.s. nice job knowing what a thread is! 😀

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