With spring only five or six weeks away, gardeners are chomping at the bit to get growing. Alas, wintry weather keeps us away from the garden but there is still plenty to do inside.
Seed starting is high up on the list and if you have yet to start onion or leek seeds, get going now. Making your own garden catalog is terrific fun especially when you share the job with a friend. Take a few of your most colorful garden catalogs and cut out photos, descriptions and growing information for any and all plants that you might want to grow in your garden. Cut and paste them into a notebook that you can use as a wish list as well as an instructional guide. This can be especially fun with children and might inspire them to play in the garden with you this spring.
Each summer, I hear friends bemoan the lack of a cold frame or a raised bed or a hoop house or a compost bin. “If only …” they say. Now is the time to plan for that. If you are lucky enough to have a workshop, these parts for these projects can be measured and cut and ready to assemble once the weather permits. If you must wait until spring, spend this time gathering the necessary materials so you will be ready to go.
For a cold frame, here are two videos, one from This Old House — https://tinyurl.com/y754dz6c — and one from Fine Gardening — https://tinyurl.com/ycks8aqp. Both of these offer a fairly simple construction for a cold frame that should last for years. However, you can construct an instant cold frame with a horseshoe-shaped frame of hay bales topped with an old window. Leave the front open for sunlight and close it with another window or bale of hay in the evening.
Instructions for making raised beds are similar to those of cold frames. This site, https://tinyurl.com/ya6b8u9n, offers 52 different options for raised beds and links to free instructions for each of them. You may want more than one raised bed after reviewing this site. This Old House provides video instructions for building a wheelchair-accessible raised bed. Even if you don’t follow the plans exactly, you might get some grand ideas (https://tinyurl.com/yb7gk2ub).
For pure fun without the work, visit your local garden centers or botanical garden. Many of these spots are alive with color and greenhouse plants and it is a lovely escape into spring, no matter how brief the visit. Learning can be enormous fun and late winter is the ideal time to settle down in front of a computer and research your garden questions. Seed companies often have scads of valuable information online. Johnny’s Seeds, www.johnnyseeds.com, is one of the best I have found. If you prefer to get your information from our valuable extension agents, do a search of the entire country’s extension information at https://search.extension.org. YouTube has an astonishing array of how-to videos on everything from pruning, to planting to harvesting.
Combine fun and education at “Spring Begins!” a Master Gardeners seminar that will be held on Saturday, March 2, at the Dunn County Community Services Building. Gardeners who are interested in beautifying their gardens with hydrangeas and those who find their gardening hampered by physical restrictions are especially invited to attend. The seminar runs from 9 am to noon in the Dunn County Community Services Building (formerly the Dunn County Health Care Center), 3001 Highway 12 East in Menomonie. Enter using the basement level door on the west side of the building. See https://tinyurl.com/ycphhuaz for more information.
Beverly Carney can be reached at [email protected].
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