Itching To Start Spring Gardening? Expert Shares Tips For Getting A Head Start

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Social distancing? Take the opportunity to get started on spring gardening. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Social distancing? Take the opportunity to get started on spring gardening. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus might leave you with some extra time — and an opportunity to spruce up your garden.

If you’re looking to put your green thumb into action, try edging, weeding and seeding your garden, says Debra Knapke, a garden consultant in Columbus, Ohio.

It’s a good time in most parts of the country to begin planting seeds for bigger plants, she says, such as eggplants, tomatoes, chilies and flowers.

“Now's the time to get those seeds started for your herbs, flowers, vegetables, etc.,” she says.

Now’s a great time to start tackling pesky weeds such as winter bittercress and dandelions, she suggests. Most of the Midwest experienced a mild winter with a great amount of rain, Knapke says, so the weeds she’s seen in her own yard are “ecstatic.”

Gardening is all about following a schedule throughout the year. There is, of course, a lot of uncertainty right now in the midst of a global pandemic. But seeding and planting can help teach balance and “moving with the flow of nature,” she says.

“One of the best lessons we can have right now with coronavirus and physical and social distancing is just getting out and evening yourself out into the garden and into a forest,” she says.

Knapke also suggests “forest bathing” if you live near the woods.

She recommends using free time to create a game plan for your garden bed layout and deciding what container combinations you envision for the spring.

Having a plan ready will help you stay ahead of the crowds, she says, because once people are allowed to go back to garden centers and stores, there will be a “rush on annuals and tender perennials.”

Even if you don’t have a carefully crafted plan, Knapke says to use your time in the garden to just get out of the house for a bit and breathe in the fresh air, she says. It may even lift your spirits, she says.

“To me, the garden is my mental health. And anytime I can get into it is wonderful,” she says. “This time of year, especially as things are waking up.”

Ashley Locke produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Kathleen McKennaSerena McMahon adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on March 23, 2020.

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Before coming to WBUR to co-host Here & Now, Jeremy Hobson hosted the Marketplace Morning Report, a daily business news program with an audience of more than six million.


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