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Spring is finally here. With the hope that winter snow and ice will soon be behind them, many are taking the first steps toward planting their spring and summer gardens. KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann spoke with local gardening experts to see what gardeners can do to get started.
Many people who love to garden find this time of year a busy time. They begin to shake off the dreary winter weather and take steps toward planting a healthy and vibrant garden.
For those who are new to gardening, it can sometimes be tricky to know just where to begin. Tim Schnakenberg is with the University of Missouri Extension office. He says one of the first steps is to check the soil.
"Well it's never too late to take a soil test. That is one of the first things I think a gardener needs to do if they haven't [done so] in the last 3-4 years. The soil test will find out what the nutrient requirements are. That is a good first step for vegetable gardens, flower gardens or even fruit trees," said Schnakenberg.
Schnakenberg says that this season has been a challenge with all of the extra moisture we have experienced, and has slowed down the process for spring gardens. He cautions when tilling the soil it should not be done when the ground is too wet, and not to over-till, as both can ruin the soil structure.Schnakenberg says that mulching is another important early step that can save a lot of extra work later.
"Mulching is something that a lot of gardeners don't get done because it takes a lot of time up front. After the plants are in and they start to grow, mulching around them saves a lot of work weeding later." said Schnakenberg.
Weather in the Ozarks region can be very unpredictable so experts suggest that now is the time for planting cold crops. William Cooper is with Master Gardeners of Greene County.
"Well a lot of people are getting started with their cold crops like lettuce, radishes, and things like that. Inside people are starting tomato seeds, pepper seeds which are warm weather crops. These won't be planted outside until the fear of frost has past sometime in the first part of May." said Cooper.
This coming weekend will be an “Off and Growing” seminar at St. John's, designed for beginning gardeners as well as those wishing to learn new techniques. You can find links to more information below.
For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Bettmann.
To learn more about University of Missouri Extension, Master Gardeners and Upcoming Events, Click here.
or you can call (417) 862-9284
To learn more about The Friends of the Garden at Close Memorial Park, Click here.