Skip to main content

Beacon Senior News

Spring equinox is here. Let’s get planting!

Mar 03, 2020 11:01AM ● By Paige Slaughter

On March 19, the sun sits directly above the equator, and day and night are nearly equal in length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, March equinox marks the beginning of spring.

With signs of new life popping up all around, spring makes it easy to marvel at the wonder of Nature, to notice her rhythm and to reconnect to our own intentions and the things that bring us joy. As flower buds appear on barren branches and bulbs send up vibrant colors from beneath the ground, we’re reminded of Nature’s infinite beauty and of our own access to endless possibilities.

Gardening helps us participate in Nature’s ebb and flow and connect to the natural world in a way that can be difficult in our modern age. As winter fades, it’s time to get moving! Bring in the energy of spring with open arms. Prepping garden beds and starting seeds are great ways to do it. Even walking around the garden (no matter how much or little space you have to play with) and envisioning what your garden will become is an opportunity to move, stimulate the mind and begin embodying wellness, springtime style.

Planting wellness

If you’re itching to get your hands in the soil, here are a few things you can plant this month.

Sow seeds of wellness by planting a bed of hardy, dark leafy greens, which are full of calcium, iron, vitamins A, C and K, potassium and fiber. A bed of colorful carrots adds antioxidants while radishes add magnesium and vitamin B6.

Cover seeds with a thin layer of grass clippings or a sheet to keep the soil moist and help protect seedlings from spring frosts. I like to direct sow seeds thick and thin out the bed as sprouts emerge.

Poppies are easy to direct seed and don’t mind cold temperatures. Broadcast poppy seeds throughout your garden and keep them moist until they germinate. Poppies need lots of light to germinate, so if you’re covering your beds with straw, be sure not to lay down too much. It’s amazing to see poppies come up even in the cold of early spring.

Spinach, arugula and lettuce will also come up in cool temperatures. Spinach does not like to be transplanted, so it’s better to seed directly and then thin.

Plant potatoes

Potatoes can be planted as soon as you can work the soil, and they won’t be bothered by spring frosts. Potato plants won’t grow until soil temperatures have reached 45°F, but I love planting them in early spring so they can come up soon.

If you’ve ever held onto a potato too long, you’ve seen the little growths called eyes. These are what we plant in order to grow more potatoes. You can order potatoes for planting from seed companies, or you can find your favorites at the grocery store and store them in a warm, light place for a few weeks until they sprout eyes.

One or two days before you’re ready to plant, use a clean knife to slice up the potatoes into sections. This will give the cut pieces time to dry out, which will help prevent rotting. Each section should have an eye or two. Smaller potatoes can be planted whole. Whatever you’re planting should be about the size of a golf ball.

On planting day, dig a 6-8 inch deep trench into the soil that you’ve loosened and moistened. Place each potato piece cut-side-down, with the eye pointing up towards the sky, every 6-12 inches (fingerlings can be planted closer together, while larger potatoes will want a bit more room).

Fill the trench with about 4 inches of soil. Let the plants start to grow and continue to mound up the soil around the plants as they grow taller. After about 10 weeks, they’ll be ready to harvest.

If you really want to get fancy, you can plant a layer of fast-growing greens on top of your potatoes and pull them up as needed, once the potato plants begin to grow. This is the kind of creative planting that makes gardening exciting!

From dreaming and envisioning, to seeding and planting, to celebrating Spring Equinox, March is truly a time to relish in fresh beginnings. This month, consider how you can reconnect with your own intentions for wellness, community, embodiment, joy—and start digging.