I can smell it already! Spring is just around the corner! 

It really is: the other day I was walking downtown and I saw my first dog turd poking through the snow. A sure sign of spring if you ask me.

March is upon us, and I am crossing my fingers that we will have at least one more snowstorm in Montreal to ring in my birthday, but I'm definitely itching for renewal. My tub of potting soil is defrosting in the spare room, and my seedling trays are ready to go. We may still be in the hungry gap, but I'm getting ready for the gardening season.

If you followed the Winter Games, I'm sure you noticed that the West Coast isn't having much of a winter... The gardening season is definitely on over there, and I'd bet good money that fields are already greening up. Over here in the East, growers are only just starting to clean out the green houses.

What to look for in March:

The wet autumn of 2009 made harvesting sunchokes quite a miserable job, so it is more than likely that there is still quite a haul left in the soil. Chances are fresh tubers will be dug out in the coming weeks to make room for the new crop. 
Some people prefer fall-harvested jerusalem artichokes, and others prefer the spring cull, either way make sure the tubers you buy are firm. Personally, I prefer freshly harvested chokes because I find that stored tubers take an incredibly long time to cook.

Early Lettuces and other leaves
When we had that first bout of warm weather in February, I was able to pick some roquette poking through thin patches of snow... Even if there are few winter survivors, early salads and other greens will be coming up very soon under poly-tunnels (unheated, plastic structures.) So keep your eyes peeled right about end of March.

Radishes are not chilly-billies! An easy crop, they don't mind cool, wet soil, and are quick to poke their noses out of the ground. West coasters will be seeing their local crop very soon.

Maple Syrup
Ooooh, the season is definitely on baby!! Warm days and cool nights are tirggers for sap to rise, and we've definitively had perfect conditions lately. I've heard word that sugar shacks around Montreal have started tapping their trees, and some are already boiling sap.I say bring it on!

Blood Oranges
I know, unless you are in California, Italy or Spain, these beauties are definitely not a local produce. But they are so pretty, and their season is so short, you really should not deprive yourself of these vitamin boosters. You won't be finding any Floridian blood oranges though, their crop was completely destroyed by frost.
Blood oranges tend to be smaller than navels, and not tooth-achingly sweet. You may encounter some seeds, but they are never overly seedy. If you are feeling industrious, they make a beautiful marmalade, but you need to take a few precautions. I usually boil the peel and flesh of my citrus together for an hour or more to make my marmalade, but in order t keep the beautiful colour of the blood oranges intact, the flesh cannot be boiled longer than 30 minutes. The peel should be cooked with sugar until it soft and almost translucent before adding the chopped flesh. The resulting marmalade will be a beautiful ruby hue, and a touch more bitter than a navel marmalade.

California's asparagus season has begun, so... Washington State and British Colombia should be seeing their first spears by month's end... I'm so jealous! It'll be at least another two months before the asparagus poke through my garden.

Bon app'!


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