March 13, 2011

Colonial Kitchen Garden for March

I hope to be officially starting my garden today, although I still have some chives growing from last summer and hope to grow some garlic chives for next year. Garlic chives, or Chinese chives are a delicious staple of Asian cooking. It is frequently the ingredient that makes Chinese food not taste right when you make it at home. They have a very mild onion flavor with a hint of garlic--they're delicious.

I'm going to be taking a lot of hints from "Every Man His Own Gardener," published in 1767. I always seem to plant things too early or too late and this book dictates what should be done in a garden and when.

Locally, the rule of thumb for planting is " after Mother's Day (2nd Sunday in May,) but the cold-hearty plants should be okay.

For March it recommends:
  • "About the eighteenth or twentieth of this month, is the time to begin to sow the cucumbers and melons which are to be planted under hand or bell glasses."
  •      "Plant cabbage plants of all kinds, the beginning, or any time this month, but the sooner it is done the better. Let them be planted in good ground, at two feet and a half distance each way, or thereabouts.
         This distance is to be understood of such plants as are to remain to grow to their full size; but such as are to be cut young, may be planted closer ; and eighteen or twenty inches a-part will be sufficient.
    Sow the seeds of cabbages, of any sort the beginning or middle of this month, for autumn and winter use: let them be in an open spot of ground, each sort separate.
         Red cabbage seed should also be sewn about the middle, or latter end of this month, to raise some plants for winter service.  "
  •  Other plants to be planted: Lettuce (transplanted from the winter,) Spinach (planted every two weeks to ensure a constant supply,) Onions, Leeks (sewn at the beginning of the month or in February,) Radishes (planted 3 times in March and thinned out,) Carrots and Parsnips, Asparagus, Artichokes, Beans, Peas, Turnips, Celery, salad greens, Nasturtium (for salads,) Purslane, Potatoes, Dill, Fennel, Chives and Mint.
  • "It is the custom now with such people as are obliged to make the most of every spot of ground, to sow a thin crop of onions the first year, on the new asparagus beds ; and this may be done without hurting the asparagus, provided the onions are not suffered to grow about the plants. "
  • Using lettuce or parsley for borders around plant beds.

I think I will just be enriching the soil, planting, chives, leeks and onions, and starting my tomatoes indoors (something that was not found in colonial gardens except for show.) I thought that the winter would have killed the chives that are already out there, we had so much snow this year, and I did nothing to cover them. Has anyone already planted?


  1. I want to start gardening again. I used to grow alfalfa sprouts. Is it hard and expensive?

  2. Hey, It doesn't have to be expensive. I've never been very good at timing when I plant things. My bunnies would have loved alfalfa sprouts. What did you do with them?

  3. I already have mint growing. I didn't think anything would be up yet: It's been so cold.

  4. I have mint growing too and I am a notorious mint killer. My friend gave me a clipping of hers and now it grows in a nice little pot on my deck.

  5. Cool post :) Gardening is so much harder than it looks especially because timing is so important. Cool that you are using that book.


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