March 2006
Home Grown Tomatoes


March-The Beginning of Spring!

March 1st is Ash Wednesday. This means we are on the downside of winter and Spring is just a couple of weeks away.

I hope you’re ready to start your seeds! Since the average last frost date for us is April 15th, you can start your flower and vegetable seeds now and your plants will be ready for the garden by next month.

First get your germinating medium ready. If it’s bone dry, I like to place it in a tub of water for a couple of hours to soak up water. I then break up any chunks and pour the mixture onto a window screen and let drain for an hour or two. This will re-hydrate your mixture. You wouldn’t want to place your seeds into a germinating medium that was bone dry. Before you could get the mixture wet enough to be uniformly hydrated, you would have washed most of your seeds away.

Place your moist medium into your germinating trays (egg cartons will do) and sow your seeds. Remember to lightly cover most vegetables with soil, however petunias and begonias require light to germinate. Sprinkle them on top of the soil and mist them lightly to activate them. I like to cover my trays with clear plastic to create a greenhouse effect. Any popular cling film will do. If you can place these in a fairly warm place, it will speed up germination. Remember to remove the plastic after most of your seeds germinate. This will allow ventilation and reduce the chance of damping off.

Now, on to other March topics.

St. Patrick’s Day has been celebrated in the United States since about 1737 and is now considered the day to show off your green of spring! Folks wear shamrocks, but do you know why? The shamrock became the symbol of St. Patrick to represent the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

There were a lot of accepted falsities about St. Patrick, who, by the way, was the second Bishop in Ireland. My favorite story is about how St. Patrick was responsible for driving the snakes out of Ireland.

Well, any scholarly herpetologist will tell you that there have never been any signs of snakes indigenous to Ireland. Some theologians believe that the tale about the snakes came from driving the pagans to Christianity.

St. Patrick died on March 17 in AD 461 and there you have it! We can now justify drinking green beer on March 17th!

The Vernal Equinox officially occurs at 12:26 PM CST on March 20th, 2006 then spring will officially be upon us. I can hardly wait!

Kenn Alan presents the radio show "Home Grown Tomatoes" every Saturday morning on 101.1 FM, The Source, and offers gardening tips at HGTradio.net, where Home Grown Tomatoes can now be heard live on the Internet!