Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this year, and for those of us in Chicago and around the country who have suffered through a very long, cold, and snowy winter, the news is welcome. Even though there still may be a considerable amount of snow in your yard, now is a great time to start planning ahead for your summer garden. Somehow, the food you grow yourself always tastes better!
February is the perfect month for planning your garden, ordering the seeds, and starting indoor prep so that you have plenty of seedlings ready to plant as soon as the growing season begins. To know the best time to plant in your area, you should determine when your last frost typically is, and then plan to start your seedlings indoors about six weeks before that date. There is a great tool for determining your planting season at Dave’s Garden.
Garden prep can be messy work, and one of the best places to set up your own gardening station is in your garage. White Rabbit can transform a corner of your garage into a gardener’s paradise, with gardening benches that offer plenty of work surface, wall systems to hang gardening tools, and cabinets with drawers to store your gardening supplies. While we don’t do plumbing, we work closely with local contractors if you need to have a sink installed in your garage. If you already have a sink or spigot, we can build your cabinets around what you have. If you’re having plumbing installed, we have a custom cabinet shop and can create a personalized piece to give the area a finished look.
Tips for Getting an Early Start to Your Garden
To get the best start, choose the right growing medium. While commercial mediums will ensure a weed-free start, you can make your own mix by combining 4 quarts of peat moss, 3 teaspoons of limestone, and 3 tablespoons of fertilizer.
Before sowing the seeds, put a ½-inch layer of medium in the bottom of your starter containers and water the soil thoroughly. Allow it to drain, and then use your finger to poke a hole in the center of each container for the seed. Make sure the hole is at least three times deeper than the seed is wide for the best results.
To grow the healthiest seedlings, use fresh seeds. Keep the soil moist but not too wet. Follow the instructions for the seeds you plant; some require lots of light while others prefer a dark place to germinate. Once the seeds have germinated, the young seedlings will need plenty of light to grow.
Some things you should remember about your seedlings:
- The first two leaves that grow on your seedlings are storage leaves that help feed the plant.
- Once the real leaves start to grow, you should begin adding fertilizer.
- When it’s time to transplant your seedlings to the garden, it’s a good idea to “harden” them by letting them get used to being outside for a only few hours a day at first.
- Be sure that your garden is past its first frost prior to transplanting the seedlings into the garden.
Make planting the garden an annual event and involve your kids or grandkids in the process to create an experience they’ll remember.
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Peace of Mind.
That’s the magic of White Rabbit.