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Prepping for spring

Jim Boxberger
Posted 2/23/24

Even though the days are getting longer, it is still quite chilly out there and not time to rototill the garden yet. But hope springs eternal as we get closer to spring and warmer weather. …

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Garden Guru

Prepping for spring


Even though the days are getting longer, it is still quite chilly out there and not time to rototill the garden yet. But hope springs eternal as we get closer to spring and warmer weather. Let’s face it without a huge snow pack this year to melt off, once the weather takes a turn to the warm side the ground will be ready to work as we shouldn’t have nearly as much mud as usual. So now is the time to make your preparations for spring so you are ready when the time comes. Spring only lasts a few weeks and then we get into the heat of the summer. 

Things to do now before spring and before you start growing for the season: check your garden tools. Are they rusty? Do your pruners open and close smoothly? Can you find your gardening gloves, boots, hat and knee pads? Where did you put your rake and shovel last fall? How about buckets for debris, for the spring yard cleanup. Preparing now will ensure that you are able to complete your projects the same day you start them. There is nothing worse than getting a project the majority of the way done only to be missing something and having to go to the store to find it. Like getting your hose out to pressure wash the deck only to find that a mouse has chewed a hole in it. Or putting up a new deer fence around the garden only to find out you are two posts short. Remember the 6P rule, Prior Planning Prevents P!$s Poor Performance. You get the idea. We have been prepping in our greenhouse right now as some of our bareroot plants will be coming in the first week in March, and we will start planting operations for the upcoming spring season. 

It is always a nice time of year as we get to be in the sunny greenhouse just getting our hands dirty. First in will be perennials, as they will need just a little more time to grow out to be ready for May and June. We pot them up and leave them in the greenhouse with temperatures that won’t dip below 45 degrees. We don’t heat the greenhouse up to 70 or 80 like greenhouses that are growing annuals. The perennials will do well with lower heat as this will give the roots time to grow out before the tops really want to take off. The next plants in will be the berries and grapes. The grapes we will also leave in the greenhouse once potted, but the berries we will split up. We sell a lot of berry plants each spring and, so they don’t all leaf out too soon in the spring, we will leave about thirty percent of each type in the greenhouse and put the other seventy percent outside to stay dormant until the weather outside warms up. 

These berry plants are already dormant with no leaves on them so putting them out even on top of the snow won’t bother them at all. They just won’t start to leaf out for spring until the soil in their pots warm up, whenever that may be. The last plants to get potted up are the big boys, fruit trees and ornamentals. The fruit trees all run about six to eight feet tall but some of the ornamentals like crimson king red maples and weeping willows can be ten to twelve feet tall. Last year a few trees came in so large that twenty gallon pots were not big enough for them. When a supplier says in their catalog grading size ten feet plus, that plus means you could get a tree ten feet tall or a tree twenty feet tall - same price either way. Great deal if you get the twenty footers if you have the pots to put them in. 

We are better prepared this year if that happens again. All of the trees will be put outside as soon as they get potted up as we don’t have room in the greenhouse for them, and we wouldn’t want them to bud out sooner than they are suppose to, so they go right out into the garden center. Once we get rolling on planting for the season, I hope we won’t have any more major snow as that will just screw up our garden center as we try to prepare our outside areas for the upcoming season. Preparing indoors this time of year is much easier as we don’t have to rely on the weather. So check your gardening supplies now while you still have some time as soon enough you will want to get outside to prepare for the upcoming season. And if you find you are in the need of supplies for spring, check out our Facebook page, as the 20th Annual Bag Sale is from today, February 23, to Sunday, February 25. See you soon.


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