Far be it from us to criticize the nation's most celebrated groundhog, but this year Punxsutawney Phil's prediction of 6 more weeks of winter did not come to pass in many parts of the country. Instead, spring sprung earlier than ever, and shows no signs of retreating!
Although the warm weather may be here to stay, if you are setting out transplants early and direct-sowing seeds into the newly warmed soil, take a few simple precautions to avoid losing your jump-started plants:
The Environmental Working Group's guide to pesticides in produce identified 12 kinds of fruits and vegetables in American supermarkets that are most likely to have been grown with large amounts of chemicals. These "dirty dozen" include plenty of favorites from our daily diet. So what to do?
Well, we can try to buy organic produce.... when we can afford it, and when it is available. But there's a simpler solution for us gardeners — we can simply grow our own! Nearly all of the "dirty dozen" can be grown successfully in most U.S. climates, and with today's more compact varieties, many can even be grown in containers! Give a new fruit or vegetable a try this season, and boost your family's health while having fun in the garden or on the patio!
|The "Dirty Dozen"|
|1. Apples||5. Spinach||9. Potatoes|
|2. Celery||6. Nectarines (imported)||10. Blueberries (domestic)|
|3. Strawberries||7. Grapes (imported)||11. Lettuce|
|4. Peaches||8. Bell peppers||12. Kale/Collard Greens|
Our 9-acre trial garden will display all the new All-America Selections contenders — a record number this year! — as well as many of the varieties you have seen in our catalog and on the website. You'll visit our vegetable patch as well as themed plantings such as deer-resistant and drought-tolerant gardens. Our Garden Center will be open, offering terrific bargains on seeds and plants. And of course we'll have food, drinks, garden tours, and other events of interest.
Flower Day takes a lot of planning, so we thought we'd give you an update of what's going on in the gardens right now to prepare for the big day:
It's time to plow up the Pansies and the Kale, our winter mainstays here in the South. If it's been a while since you grew either of these crops, give some newer varieties a try this season. They last longer and look more vibrant than ever before, which is such a treat on those gray February days! Of course, farther north they are spring and fall crops, so you can keep the beauty coming right through Mother's Day!
This week we're beginning to sow some vegetable and flower seeds. Spinach, cucumbers, and pumpkins are going into our vegetable patch, while zinnias, marigolds, dahlias, and petunias are filling the sunny annual beds.
If you can, please be our guest at Flower Day this year! Admission and all Park Seed events are free, and you're welcome to bring a picnic if you don't want to buy food and drink. (The views from our picnic tables are pretty spectacular!) We'd love to meet you and show you our gardens, so gather the whole family together and make a day of it!