Mar/Apr
2017

Spring Gardening: A Time of Renewal and Rebirth

Written by Cindy Mennenga
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It’s always a sure sign that spring is just around the corner when the seed and flower catalogs begin arriving in the mail. Spring is such a hopeful time of year, and the prospect of seeing young shoots break through the soil can help pass those seemingly endless winter evenings. Leafing through colorful catalogs helps people dream about spring, with its longer days and the awesome flowers and edibles they may want to plant.

GARDEN TRENDS 

Spring is, of course, the busiest time of the year at area garden centers. Nina Sargent, co-owner of Sargent’s, says, “There is definitely a shift toward more folks growing their own veggies.” She shares that people want to control what they are eating and know how their produce
was grown. She adds that the availability of organic products that
really do work has contributed to this growing trend.

Container gardening has also become very popular. One of the things that has driven the popularity of container gardens is the fact that they are approachable for all gardening skill levels. If you live in a house or an apartment, you can easily grow plants, flowers or vegetables in a container on your deck, balcony or patio. An added bonus: Planters that are nestled on the deck or balcony are usually safe from deer, rabbits and other furry woodland creatures. 

Another trend right now is straw bale gardening. The seemingly endless benefits of straw bale gardening have converted many long-time traditional gardeners and newbies alike. Plants are easier to grow and maintain, plus the yields are frequently higher than for those plants grown in soil.

If you like fresh herbs, you may want to plant a variety of versatile herbs in a beautiful flower pot in your kitchen. Freshly plucked herbs are a nice addition to nearly any meal. 

GET THE KIDS INVOLVED 

Getting kids interested in plants and understanding how their food is grown from an early age can influence a child for a lifetime. Knowing that, Sargent’s offers Wee Wednesday for the pre-kindergarten crowd on the third Wednesday of the month from April through December. Wee Wednesday introduces kids to gardening and helps kids to see that gardening is fun.

It’s also fun for kids to help plant the garden at home. Of course, it depends on the child’s age and interest level, but most kids get a kick out of digging holes for the plants, handling the delicate seedlings and watering the babies once they have been transplanted into the soil. Seriously, what kid doesn’t like to play in the dirt?  

GETTING STARTED

Nurseries, plant sales, sharing with friends and starting plants from seed are all great ways to add plants to your garden. Perennials are awesome because they come back year after year.  Most perennials can be divided, which allows you to increase the number of plants in your garden or share with friends and neighbors for no additional cost.

Nina Sargent also says that succulents are exceptionally popular right now. She says, “One of the main attractions of succulents is that they are super easy to care for. They require very little water and can be planted just about anywhere or in anything.” 

Eagle Bluff Skills School in Lanesboro offers food, farm and garden and sustainable living classes. They are offering a seed planting class on March 11. 

If you prefer plants that are ready to be transplanted, the Rochester Garden and Flower Club will be holding its 78th annual plant sale May 17-18 in the Horticulture Building at the Olmsted County Fairgrounds. This is a great opportunity to purchase unique and hardy plants that have been lovingly tended by a fellow plant lover. 

Spring is truly just around the corner, and now is the time to start plotting your plant plans for the upcoming growing season. 

Cindy Mennenga, owner of Straight Talk Wellness, is a health coach and freelance writer based in Rochester.