Looking at the white snow covering the ground, and all of our raised beds, it’s hard to imagine flourishing beanstalks and towering sunflowers will take the place of this endless white blanket of water and ice, but thankfully Mother Nature always moves forward. February is actually a great time to start planning your garden. You may have already seen a multitude of catalogs pouring in and crowding your mailbox, and likely wondered why that is so in the midst of winter. That’s because garden planning starts now, and if you want the popular seed varietals, place your orders now before they sell out.
Now is also the time to also order your soft neck garlic. This specific crop is bountiful, easy to plant, grow and harvest, and nothing smells and tastes like fresh garden garlic! Most soft neck spring varietals can be planted around early April and harvested in mid to late summer, but the ordering time is now before they sell out. The soft neck garlic ships in March so be sure and reserve yours now. Late March is also the time gardeners start their seedlings indoors with planters and grow lights, think tomatoes, eggplant, pepper and other varietals that can be transplanted in Spring once it’s warm enough and they’ve grown to larger size.
Here in the Garden State, we live up to our name, and that title stands strong at the Jersey Shore as well. Brielle has one of the most beautifully functioning community gardens in the area, carefully run by Alan Hilla, it produces massive amounts of produce and space for gardeners in the area, is farmed and cared for by those same folks, and creates a productive and creative place for the community. The kids are also involved.
Brielle’s garden has raised beds made from local Boy Scout troops, and they even earn a garden badge for their contributions. It’s a win-win for any community, and tending the garden is a delicious and healthy way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. If you want to start a community garden in your area contact your local officials and look for an open, sunny spot with at least eight hours of sun.
When we walk out the door these days with our layers of clothes and heavy boots, spring may feel like a world away, but thankfully that world keeps spinning on and that means Spring is on the horizon.
Planning a garden now is not only ripe but warms us for the sunny days ahead.
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