Dear Friends and Gardeners: March 1, 2010

I’ve always loved books with exchanges of letters, like Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence--A Friendship in Letters and 84, Charing Cross Road, an exchange of letters between the writer Helene Hanff and a British bookseller, Frank Doel. When I found out that Dee from Red Dirt Ramblings and Mary Ann from Gardens of the Wild Wild West shared a similar interest, we decided in 2009 to exchange letters about our different vegetable gardens, 1,000’s of miles apart, across three different hardiness zones. We ended those letters last fall but have decided to continue them again this year.

We hope you enjoy this once a week glance into our 2010 vegetable gardens, beginning today.

Dear Dee and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,

So, where did I leave off? Oh yes, right around Labor Day last summer was my last letter about the vegetable garden of 2009.

There isn’t too much to report on the vegetable garden after that last letter. I was never very good about extending the harvest into fall, so things just sort of quietly wound down from that point on through the beginning of winter.

I did leave the garden in pretty good shape last fall. I got all the raised beds cleared off and top dressed them with some rich compost from my compost bins. I expect that if we don’t get much snow or rain between now and mid-March, the ground in those raised beds will be ready for me to sow the first crops of peas and spinach on March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day, and then a few days later I’ll sow seeds for radishes and plant onion sets.

Why the delay in planting the root crops? This year I’ve decided to plant according to the moon phases. I’ll plant “above ground” crops from the new moon to the full moon and “below ground” crops from the full moon to the new moon.

Mary Ann, it will come as no surprise to you that once again, I have a lot of seed varieties to plant. Over the next week, I need to organize all those packets and figure out what’s missing and maybe see what I have too much of, if there is such a thing as "too much" when it comes to gardening. (We sure don't act like there can be too much!)  Plus, Dee, I remember you suggested that we all grow the same variety of something, maybe lettuce, to see how it does in our different climates. I’ll try to write about what varieties I’ve purchased so far so we can see what we have in common.

I’m pretty excited about this year’s vegetable garden, even though I need to do some work to replace the wood around some of the raised beds. It doesn’t last forever, even if it is cedar. But once I do that, I’m ready to plant!

Looking forward to a new season of sharing about our 2010 vegetable gardens, I remain…

Hortifully yours,


P.S. The picture above is from two weeks ago. It’s hard to imagine that the garden will be ready for me to sow peas on the 17th, but I know it will be!


  1. Dear Carol, I think that your 'garden' correspondence with a soul mate is a lovely idea and to establish a regular series of letters is such an excellent thing to do. What fun you must have had in the last year, and what continued joy I am sure you will have with this throughout 2010.

  2. I spotted my crocuses coming up! So happy to see those little leaves poking up! Spring is on its way!!

  3. It *is* hard to believe, but I know it will too. Yes, I think we're growing Flashy Troutback lettuce together. Can't wait to see what happens next in your garden. Moon phases huh? I've always wondered about doing that except that we have such a short period to get everything in the ground.~~Dee

  4. Raised beds make such a difference on the workability of the soil early in the season. Luckily, my soil is very well drained, which goes some way toward making up for no raised beds in full sun. I just hope the snow all melts by St. Patrick's Day. Your veggie garden looks so empty now, but it won't be long before it's brimming with growing things. Come on, spring!

  5. I loved your garden correspondence last year, and look forward to the new edition. I am getting so eager, but I've got three feet of snow on the ground, so I'm still making lists.

  6. "Hortifully yours" made me giggle out loud. :)

    This is an enchanting idea... and new to me because I hadn't seen your previous letter exchanges. I hope your moon phase plantings go well!

  7. I don't know where to start in comment to this posting. I too have so many varieties of veggies to plant that my Hubby is threatening to cut me off from my seed catalogs. Can't wait till we finally move there and get settled in so I can get out the hammer, nails and wood to start making the frames for my raised beds. My fingers are itching!

    I wrote an article about a garden challenge I'm doing - figuring out how to do an inexpensive veggie garden that feeds fresh but also provides harvest to "put away". Would love your take on the challenge. It's at: -- thanks! Vikki at

  8. I love it... so nice to exchange letters from miles away.

  9. Hope that's the last snow you see this year Carol.

  10. I like correspondence books myself. A particularly interesting one is Dear Mr Jefferson by Laura Simon. She writes to Thomas Jefferson about her vegetable garden. He doesn't answer being long dead, but I learned a lot about T.J. the gardener.


  11. Carol, your garden looks like mine. Unlike yours mine will not be ready to sow peas in on March 17. The last frost date here is the middle of May. Corresponding with another gardener, miles away in a different zone, seems like a lot of fun!


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