Grow your own vegetables to feed both body and soul

Hopefully your early planted vegetable gardens and flowers, fruit trees, grapes and other plants survived the frosts or hard freezes this last weekend. For the second year in a row we got popped with a cold front at mid April after two or three mild weeks above freezing. The mild weather causes many of our plants to think spring has arrived, bud out and to be particularly vulnerable when exposed to these late freezes following such nice mild weather. Thankfully this years mid April cold front does not appear to have dropped as low and did not linger for as many hours as last years freezes that caused so much crop damage. From looking at the seven day forecasts and our historical weather it appears that was probably our last flirtation with the 32º freezing mark this spring and we should be able to safely move into full planting mode on all but the hottest blooded container grown plants. It is probably best to wait until May 1st or after when nighttime temperatures and soil temperatures rise a little more to plant periwinkle, caladiums, sweet potatoes and a few other real heat loving plants.

This is a great time to plant new trees and shrubs and to plant replacements for those trees lost or damaged in our bad ice storms of the last two winters. This is the time to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and most all of your other favorite warm season vegetables. With food prices up so dramatically, what better year to plant some vegetables in your own vegetable garden or even plant some amongst your regular flower beds. Few things are as enjoyable as planting your own vegetables, nurturing and caring for them and then the joy of picking your own fresh vegetables to wash and eat fresh in the garden, at the dinner table or in your cooking.

Our grandparents mainly raised vegetables to feed their families with a few flowers to add color and beauty to the landscapes. Our parents mainly planted and raised flowers to feed their souls and beautify their houses and neighborhoods with just a few vegetables for their favorite recipes or dishes. These days we mainly plant and grow ornamental flowers to decorate and landscape our houses but you may be missing out on the special joy and satisfaction of growing some of your own food. It is a real treat to raise your own fresh tomatoes, slicing cucumbers, sweet or hot peppers, strawberries for homemade shortcake and cream or any of the other countless home grown treats you can raise.

It is just plain fun to get your hands into freshly worked dirt and to plant your own plants. It may be a new wisteria vine motivated by the beautiful purple wisteria now blooming on arbors and fences across our state.  You could plant azaleas, rhodendrons or camellias like those creating gorgeous masses of color under trees or on the north or east side of homes across our state.

Flowering bedding plants create an amazing splash of color in your container gardens, hanging baskets and flowerbeds. Consider the traditional geraniums, petunias, marigolds, zinnias, begonias, penta, impatiens or numerous other colorful annuals to jazz up your yard and plant now to create your very own photo opportunity. This is one of the greatest seasons of the year, full of energy, growth and vitality. Spend as much time as possible in your yard and enjoy your own personal experience with nature.

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