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Gardeners- Prepare your gardens!

Gardeners- Prepare your gardens!

Weekly Garden News for Northern New Jersey Highland Gardeners
By Glenn Cheetham
Garden Center Supervisor
Alstede Farms

With the recent light snow, sleet and freezing rain it’s tempting to head for the warmth of the fireplace. This week, however, marks the ‘vernal equinox’- the season of increasing daylight, warming temperatures and the renewed growth of flora and fauna. Signs of spring are everywhere we look. Snowdrops, Wood hyacinths, Crocus and Daffodils are poking up everywhere. Look up into the treetops and you’ll likely spy the red coloration of last year’s branch tips in the maples, which signals the conversion of starches into sugars at the topmost stems and buds. A few more weeks of warming trend and we’ll see temperatures averaging in the 50’s, which begins the flow of sap, the opening of buds and the earliest flowers in shrubs and trees, such as witch hazels, gold forsythia and pink Korean azaleas.

We have a little over one month to go before tender annuals and vegetables can be safely planted outside. It is time to start vegetable and flower seedlings indoors on those sunny porches and windowsills where the temperatures don’t go below about fifty degrees. Using quality seed stock, seed starter soil and greenhouse trays designed to keep seed moist ensures you get the best possible value from your homegrown garden. Alstede’s has what you need to succeed with your seeds.

It’s best to plan your plantings ahead of time, prioritizing your goals for the landscape. Doing so now will reduce costly mistakes and add to your enjoyment of “what can be” on your property. Now is also the ideal time to clean up winter debris and prepare the soil to receive those plants, by adjusting the pH and adding organic compost, soil amendments and fertilizers to increase the soils’ ability to drain and supply nutrients to hungry plant roots. You are always welcome to stop by and visit our garden center to get the information you need to make the most of your plans for a successful garden here in the New Jersey Highlands. Of course, we recommend those needing extensive advice to contact us ahead so we can schedule a little one-on-one meeting to make the most of your time and effort.

Spring is also an excellent time to establish new trees and shrubs, making this the best time to repair your home’s foundation plantings. Visit our outdoor nursery now for a great selection of dormant, hardy ornamental plants that will enhance your enjoyment of the outdoors throughout the season. Doing so now will ensure that you’ll be ready to plant flowers later on, without disturbing them through the remainder of spring and summer.

PrimrosesWe hope you will stop by to see what’s blooming now and continue to visit for seasonal surprises. Don’t forget to check out our great variety of Easter Plants and perhaps see what’s blooming in our tropical greenhouse. We also have blooming Primroses, Hydrangeas and Gardenias available to brighten up any room and they can be moved outside in May for further enjoyment.

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