March 2008
In This Issue
March Garden Tasks — Product Spotlight
Starting or Renovating a Garden Bed
Quick Links
Dear Roland,

For most gardeners, March is the month of the first big push.  It can be daunting when you see all that has to be done (see March Garden Tasks).  Sometimes, I forget why I garden: for enjoyment, to create a more beautiful environment and to grow nourishing food for my family.  Then it becomes a series of stressful time-demanding tasks.
Roland in the garden
My advice to myself and to all gardeners is to take time to sniff the air and feel the soil — get your hands dirty.  Gardening is an activity of the heart, soul and body.  We have to take the advice of our plant companions and be still — listen to the quiet voice of nature.  Research shows that gardeners live longer and healthier.  Maybe that is because gardening slows the mind as it moves the body.  We need to remember the wonder and mystery of gardening.

Just a little up-date on the AeroGarden — I just don’t seem to have the hydroponic touch!  With organic nutrients and QLC about 40% of the lettuce grew fairly well, while the other 60% whithered and died. When I compare these hydro lettuces to those grown in my starting mix, they look bigger and darker green.  But the soil grown lettuce taste better and feel healthier.  The Aerogrow plants reminds me of people who have to work in office cubicles under florescents, far from natural air and sunlight.  I feel sorry for them and want to put them out in the garden (both people and plants!).

We are still not getting many people writing on the 
Bountea Forum.  I wonder why is that?  Let me know if it is not user-friendly or we can do anything to make it more interesting.  Don’t forget to use the 10% discount coupon  to order Bountea gardening products before March 15th.


Roland Evans
Organic Bountea

Save 10%Save 10% on your next order of Bountea products by using the Coupon CodeSpring08 when you check out.
Offer is good for one order over $30.
Offer Expires: March 15th 2008                     Forward this coupon to a friend
March Garden Tasks
This month is packed with gardening tasks (Note: the month runs from 15th March to 15th April).  Remember, every garden has its own micro-climate as well as a zone designation.  Rely on your past experience of what plants do best in which places.  Listen to what your plants and soil are are telling you: are your bulbs coming up; are the cherries budding or blooming; are the weeds starting to green up?
Tip: Risk early planting of some seeds or seedlings but leave enough over in case of a late frost.

Start vegetable seeds indoors: eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, basil,
Start flower seeds indoors: Half Hardy Annuals — snapdragon, begonias, aster, impatiens, lobelia, petunia, hollyhock, alyssum, etc.

Sow vegetable seeds outdoors (when temperatures reach 40 degrees regularly): beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, arugula, mesclun, lettuce, onions, parsnips, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, turnips, chives, cilantro, dill, fennel, thyme, oregano, sage.
Sow flower seeds outdoors: Hardy Annuals — sweet pea, larkspur, bachelor’s button, calendula, violas.

Plant roots, tubers and plants: onion sets, seed potatoes, rhubarb burls, shallots, strawberry plants, grapes (mulch grape roots), tarragon.
Ornamentals: cut back ornamental grasses, transplant shrubs and roses that need to be moved.

Bountea Compost Tea:  Now is the time to brew and apply your first batch of Bountea Compost Tea.  Include Root Web and M3 in the correct proportions and soak around the base of trees, shrubs and perennials.  Apply everywhere you expect to plant later in the spring.
Tip: Signup for reminders and special advice on when and how to apply Bountea Compost Tea.  Click on Update Profile/Email Address at the bottom of this page.

Soil Life Starter ingredients include mycorrhizae spores to reduce transplant shock and increase
nutrient uptake and special species of bacteria that clean up soil toxicity and transform chemicals into plant available nutrients. To further increase plant health and mineralization, Soil Life Starter combines rock and sea minerals with trace elements and vegetable based nutrients.
When to Use
Use Soil Life Starter when creating a new bed or if you have ever applied chemical fertilizers or pesticides in your garden.  Clear up bare patches or fungal problems on your lawn and add when transplanting a tree or shrub.  Add Soil Life Starter to potting soil or transplants to enhance the microbial life and minerals around your plant roots.  One pound of Soil Life Starter will treat 1000 square feet of garden.


Starting or Renovating a Garden Bed

I was brought up on heavy digging.  In England, if you wanted a new garden bed, you had to ‘double dig’ the plot, turn over tons of top soil and loosen the subsoil beneath.  There is a place for this toil if you have impervious clay; in most gardens it is not necessary.  Much less labor-intensive is to rely on nature to do the work using microbes, worms and green manures.  I will describe two approaches: the cover crop and lasagna methods.

Cover Crop Method
Last spring 
I needed a new flowerbed.  As soon as the ground thawed, I turned over the top three inches of virg
in gravelly soil and removed the worst perennial weeds.  I added a 1/2 inch dressing of Humisoil (equivalent to 1″ of compost), some alfalfa pellets from the animal feed store and a dose of compost tea.  I then thickly planted barley and white clover and watered occasionally.  By the end of April, the barley and clover were growing well.  I turned over the top three inches of soil again, smothering the cover crop, waited a week and started planting.  By mid summer the bed was overflowing with flowers.
Tip: Make sure you use both Root Web and M3 in the first application of Bountea Compost Tea

Green manures or cover crops are wonderful.  There are many types of green manures and all of them both break up the soil and add nutrients.  Combine a leafy type (barley, buckwheat, oats, rye) with a nitrogen-fixing legume such as alfalfa, clover or vetch.  Try to match the crops to your soil needs and the season of planting.  I choose barley and clover because I was planting in the spring and did not want to deal with the deeper roots of rye or alfalfa.
Tip:  Buy a 50 pound bag of alfalfa feed pellets from a local feed store as a cheap source of nitrogen and growth enhancing enzymes.

Lasagna Method
The easiest way to start a new bed quickly is the lasagna method… 

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