More folks growing own vegetables

We have about a week to go before our last average freeze date of April 7 and yet many areas of the state have already gone 2 or 3 weeks without a hard freeze. If we do get a hard freeze now we are at risk of some really significant damage with so many trees, shrubs and plants several weeks ahead of schedule. Keep your hot kaps, wall-o-waters, sheets and frost blankets handy in case we get a freeze and you need to protect your tender plants.

We have been blessed with many beautiful days which along with the steady show of blooming bulbs, shrubs and trees had me excited for spring even before the calendar made spring official last week. We still have many beautiful forsythia and quince shrubs in full flower and the flowering crabapples and redbud trees have been spectacular. It is very easy at this time of year to see why our early state leaders made the redbud our state tree as it produces bold splashes of purple, pink, red or white flowers to liven up our yards and natural habitats across the state. They have been especially beautiful this year.

We are seeing many folks plant their first vegetable garden this year and others expand their vegetable and herb gardens or add berries, grapes or fruit trees to their yard. Local garden centers are telling me that vegetable seed sales are up 25% to 50%. Onion plants and sets, seed potato and strawberry sales are also up dramatically as more people are trying their hand at growing their own produce. A little effort can give you a chance to save money on your grocery bill, to grow and enjoy really fresh local produce from you own  yard and the chance to know where your food comes from and how it has been raised. I suspect this trend to grow even more over the next few weeks as night temperatures warm a little more and it is time to plant tomatoes, green beans, peppers, eggplant and the other popular warm season vegetables.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to grow your own vegetables consider your local farmers markets and supporting your friends and neighbors who are growing great fresh food in your community. Nothing beats growing some of your own vegetables to feed your stomach and planting the flowering bedding plants you enjoy to beautify your yard and feed your soul. Plant a garden and enjoy spring up close and personal in your yard.

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