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Happy spring-in-the-making everyone!

by sheri
Well, it seems like spring is approaching: the sun is setting noticeably later; the smell of skunk has wafted by; weeds have been spotted sending up new growth (before the winter weather system that came through last week); and, most importantly perhaps, seed packet displays have cropped up in the local hardware stores. Yes, spring is most definitely on its way! And, speaking of seed packets, if you’re into starting seeds indoors, now is the time to begin – if you haven’t already that is (tomato and pepper fans have surely started by now). For beginners, know that warm weather crops need a few more months of growth to come to maturity than our colder climate allows. The most commonly grown warm weather crops which require indoor or greenhouse starting include: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and basil. On planting up these indoor ‘starts’ I want to offer a bit of advice. Considering that the weather this winter has been so unusually mild, it strikes me as quite likely we’ll have a warmer and/or earlier than normal spring. And, as it always seems to happen when Mother Nature hands us such a gift – we jump right into action and plant up our garden even with full knowledge that we’re risking a return of winter weather and one last hard frost. In the upper reaches of the Lower Great Lakes region, for example, the average last frost date comes around the third week of May. If the weather is warm for a few weeks at the end of April and into May even I am guilty of succumbing to the call of the garden. But alas, I have lost this game more times than I care to admit. So – my advise – plant up twice as many starts this year as you typically need and then only plant half of them outside when the spring tempts you to take shovel to soil. This will guarantee you’ll have plenty of plants left on hand when, and if, the spring-like weather turns out to be an illusion. And on a bit of personal note – it’s nice to be back to blogging about gardening. For me it was a long, long, winter with little time to think about gardening. Refreshing, simply refreshing being back here with you. All the best with those starts!