Spring 2024 is here!

Spring 2024 is here!


By: Gary Garner Sr.

            Spring is now here. If you are an avid gardener, then you are ready to get outside and start digging and planting. Doesn’t it feel good to get your hands dirty? Many of us have taken advantage of the early warm days to deal with some of our outdoor tasks.

            We have been selling tomato plants since the first of March. The ones that were planted outside and not covered on these cool nights we will sell a second time. Some people are always ready to give it a try. In the end Mother Nature always wins.

            Potatoes, onion, green peas and cold crops should already be in the ground or go in as soon as possible. Perennial flowers, perennial herbs, trees, and shrubs can be planted now. Other plants are beginning to arrive, but you plant at your own risk.

            The risk of frost or freezing temperatures is still with us. May 10th is the latest frost date shown by the National Weather Bureau. In 2020 central Virginia had significant damage from freezing temperatures in early May. In 2021 the last frost was April 23rd. Last year it was April 10th. My point being, keep your eye out for an overnight drop in temperature. If you can’t protect it, don’t plant it.

            When I was growing up the rule of thumb was don’t plant tomatoes until after Mother’s Day. In recent years, we have already sold out of some varieties of tomatoes and flowers by Mother’s Day. You’ll find your best selection at the garden center in mid to late April.

            While I have been writing about vegetables above some of the same rules apply to our flower gardens or containers. Geraniums, for example, can tolerate a light freeze though it’s best to keep them protected on cold nights. Herbs are available and many of them are safe to plant now though a few, such as Basil, can’t tolerate any cold. Stop by Gary’s Garden Center and see what we have available. If you are unsure ask questions. We will be happy to offer you reliable advice.

            Regardless of whether you plant now or not there are tasks outside that need to be done. Beds and gardens should be cleaned of debris and prepped for planting. Lawns should be aerated and overseeded if needed. Grub control can now be applied. Lime and early fertilizer need to be applied. Now is a great time to plant shrubs and trees. The sooner these things are done the better.

            A last reminder as you start spring planting, pay attention to plants needs of sun, shade or a light mixture of both. Plants that require full sun are not going to do well in shade. No matter how well you treat them they still need bright light to perform well. Plants that need shade are not going to tolerate full sun. Some plants will not perform well in a windy location. Just as you and I have likes and dislikes so do plants. Be kind to them and they will reward you with food or color or both in some cases.

            As always these are just a few thoughts to get you started on a summer of fun in the yard and garden. Visit Gary’s Garden Center on Leesville Road and see what is available.

            As always, the advice is free. We help your grow!