Time To Start Thinking About Gardens– But Don’t Plant Yet; We Have A Great Idea For You

Since we are nearing the end of Spring Training and heading towards April, our minds are on Spring, but when is it ok to start planting? Not yet, but you can start getting things ready.

Don’t let the visions of baseball players in the warm spring sunshine get you ahead of yourself as far as planting flowers in the Midwest, but there are preparations you can make.

Some people like to start growing seedlings in their house and now is a good time to get started on that if you want and Sandy Elfrink of St. Louis did just that.

“This is the first year I’ve started flowering annuals from seed,” said Elfrink, the owner of P.A.S.C.O. Corporation.

She used potting soil with cups and set up the seed packets so she could remember which was which. Once you start to transplant them into the yard you will need to see if the plant requires full sun or needs some shade, so keeping track of the flowers is important when starting inside.

“I started growing vegetables from seed four years ago,” she said. “My significant other, Jim Nardulli,  is a trained chef and I read a story in a gardening magazine about a chef who grows a kitchen garden with heirloom Italian seeds.

“I used her as inspiration and ordered from Seeds of Italy. I grow San Marzano tomatoes, Corno di Toro peppers (sweet red), cayenne peppers, bush beans, eggplant, squash and zucchini along with a variety of herbs.”

Every year Nardulli dehydrates a variety of her peppers and makes crushed red pepper flakes.

“We love growing our plants from seed,” she said. “Jim also makes cherry preserves from cherries I pick off our deck.

Those of you with green thumbs who love gardening will enjoy starting your plants from seed. There is something so fulfilling in seeing something you planted by seed grow throughout the summer, and you can get started on the fun now.

“I plant them with my grandsons who are two and four,” said Elfrink. “They love watching what happens as they grow.”

Later in the Spring they will transplant the seedlings and have their garden outside. Elfrink enjoys gardening and uses a lot of pots also.

There are some plants that can go in in April, but May is the best month to start. Mother’s Day is a great day to aim for and the gift of planting accessories is a welcome gift.  This year Mother’s Day comes on Sunday May 9, 2021.

According to the Missouri Botanical Gardens website April is the time for gardeners to prepare their soil for cool-season vegetables like potatoes, onions, broccoli and cabbage. Cool-season crops mean those that can be planted in the spring before the last frost, and as soon as the soil is prepared.

“After the threat of frost is past and the soil is warm, around May 1, set out tomatoes, and plant seeds of beans and corn. This is also a good target date for starting to set out bedding plants such as marigolds, salvia and impatiens” says the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

Two years ago we were at Norrenberns picking up some wood, and spotted one of their raised gardens sitting outside. At the time we were wanting to have something for an older family member who was living with us to do. Because it was difficult to bend down and do gardening, we thought we’d try it. Turns out to be one of the best and most fun purchases we have made.

Our raised garden, shown at the top of the page, has made gardening so easy. You can call Norrenberns [(314) 843-0700] to order one and they will deliver it to you– it’s as easy as that. Just talk to Patrick, Mike or whoever answers the phone and tell them you want a raised garden like Rob Rains has and they will be able to help you.

We set ours up at the edge of our patio and added the flag and decorations shown in the picture for Fourth of July last year. The flowers stayed so long we added fall decorations to it in September.

The height of a raised garden is based on preference. Some, such as the one shown below are closer to the ground. You should think of what you want it for and what would be best for you because they make them at their store and you can discuss how you want it.

As it turns out, Norrenberns is having a spring special and raised gardens are on sale, so be sure to click the link and find out more. The wooden raised gardens are custom made, so you will need to order early so they will have time to have it ready by the time you want to start planting outside. So if you want to get started, order your raised garden box and start your seedlings.

As far as when to start your planting outside, there is a lot of information the Missouri Botanical Gardens website. They have month-by-month tips and ideas for those who love to garden.

Summer is our busiest time of year with baseball, so we don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to gardening, yet we love having a garden. If you are like us and just want a basic garden of flowers to add color to your yard–with not a lot of time spent on the upkeep– go to a nursery or plant store and buy bedding plants. We love Roger’s Produce in Webster but soon there will be other outlets selling bedding plants starting to set up all over.

We use potting soil and Miracle-Gro and basically just set the bedding plants in our garden. We’ve had great success with the raised garden and are considering getting another one.

A raised garden would be a great gift for Mother’s Day or just something to get now when you are starting to think about getting the yard ready for Spring. A word of wise though: don’t plant bedding plants too close together because they will end up choking each other out. We did that last year and had to take some out and replant in pots starting in late July when they get thick.

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.