Now we’re talking: the sap’s running, dogs are scratching at the door and we get an extra hour of daylight to play at the end of the day. (spring ahead on the 10th). March means thinking about your garden, tuning up your road bike or booking your August beach rental.
PLANT A GARDEN
Let go of the winter doldrums and start dreaming about your backyard veggie garden. What will it be this year? Tenderpod, Tenderette or Topcrop beans? Bull’s Blood, Detroit Dark Red, Ruby Queen beets? Bodacious, Lancelot, How Sweet It Is corn? The list of creative variety names goes on, but what grows well in Maryland? The University of Maryland’s Extension program offers a wealth of helpful information as well as a list of suitable varieties.
If you are starting from seeds you probably should plan to get them planted in pots indoors around six weeks before the last frost. Most of Maryland is in Growing Zones 6 and 7, so that last frost can be expected late-March to mid-April.
If you prefer to have someone else worry about those baby seedlings, Chesapeake Harvest, an arm of the Easton Economic Development Corporation offers a branded line of starter plants. These are grown in Earleville or Davidsonville by Tidal Creek Growers and sold by Homestead Gardens (Davidsonville and Severna Park). More than 50 varieties are sold in 100 percent biodegradable pots.
Chesapeake Harvest’s mission is “to support and enhance the region’s rich agricultural and seafood heritage.” Projects include facilitating farmers’ access to wholesale markets, offering education and technical support to help farmers navigate regulations and increasing the availability of affordable healthy options for low income residents of Maryland.
DOUSE A PANCAKE
While pure maple syrup is a year-round staple for any well stocked pantry, early spring is when the sap starts to run and the stuff gets made. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce a gallon of the liquid gold. Steyer Brothers Maple Farm in Garrett County has been making it for more than 100 years. Also in Garrett, Backbone MTN Maple offers tours by appointment only. Celebrate spring’s syrup at Frederick County’s Maple Syrup Festival at Cunningham Falls State Park, March 9-17, where you can watch sugaring demonstrations and eat a pancake breakfast. –T.M.G.