Timing is key when spring planting

By Aimee Hancock

Miami Valley Today

TROY — With spring officially here, many green thumbs are eager to get their gardens ready for planting, but according to Mary Matthews, employee of Andy’s Garden in Troy, patience and timing is key.

“If (you) want to start things from seed, you should be getting ready to start the process now,” Matthews said.

Some vegetables, like carrots and beans, can be grown only by putting seeds directly into the garden soil, but many vegetables can be started early indoors or purchased already started from a garden center. For those doing the seeding themselves, Matthews recommends starting the process indoors within the coming weeks.

Cool weather crops, like spinach, lettuce, onions, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and similar in-ground crops, can be planted now, Matthews said. These types of vegetables are able to grow and thrive in the still-cool temperatures of early spring.

For flowers, when planting seeds directly into the ground, Matthews recommends waiting until the last frost has ended, which is normally right around Mother’s Day in May. If you’re purchasing already-blooming flowers from a garden center, it’s best to keep them indoors until after the last frost, as well, Matthews said.

“If you don’t wait and you put flower plants out, and if it gets really cold or frosts, then you need to put some kind of cover over them,” she said.

Old sheets can serve as covers for flowers and plants that are out during colder temperatures. The sheets should be put on in the evening before dark and taken off first thing in the morning.

Matthews said the recent warm weather has attracted many visitors to Andy’s Garden, located at 2310 W. Market St., in the past few weeks. She said people are eager to begin planting their own gardens sooner rather than later when they see the big, lush flowers in the garden center. However, she stressed the importance of holding off on planting, noting that the flowers at Andy’s are thriving thanks to being kept in greenhouses.

Another plant Matthews said people tend to start putting in the ground too early is tomato plants.

“If you don’t wait for the ground to warm up, your plants are going to be sitting there doing nothing,” she said.

Matthews encourages anyone with planting and gardening questions to stop into Andy’s Garden.

“(Andy’s Garden) employees like to work here, and they like to share their knowledge,” Matthews said. “If they don’t have an answer to a question, they will find someone who does or point you in the right direction.”

For more gardening tips, visit www.andysgarden.com and click on the Garden Advisor tab for a list of PDFs full of information regarding how to care for things like annuals, bulbs, herbs, houseplants, fruits and vegetables, and more.