COLUMN: Get a jump on spring


The snow and cold can make it a tough time for gardeners. However, it’s not too early to start planning for your 2022 garden season.

Mail order sources are ready now with their new introductions and catalogs are starting to arrive in the mailbox.

Now’s a great time to become an armchair garden planner and to start thinking warm, sunny thoughts!

Garden Catalogs

January and February are the time when most seed and plant companies get their new product lines out.

Many companies will mail you a catalog for free; there are also many on-line companies offering on-line specials.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac website: offers a list of free catalogs and other on-line sources.

Even if you prefer to buy locally, garden catalogs can teach you many things to help you plan out a garden.

Here are some terms you might find in catalogs or on plant tags:

-Days to Bloom or Bloom Season: How long it will take a plant to flower and what month(s) you can expect flowers.

-Days to Harvest: Important for vegetable growers, the number of days from when the plants are set out into the garden for that plant to bear the fruit.

-Disease Resistance: This word alone is meaningless. Good catalogs will explain disease resistance specifics.

-Determinate/Indeterminate: Growing tomatoes? Determinate tomato plants grow to a certain size, fruit all at once, and then stop growing. These are good choices for growing in containers. Indeterminate tomatoes are more vining and continue to grow and fruit until frost and will need to be staked or caged.

-Start Indoors: This seed term means that the seed must be started indoors versus directly in the ground.

The term “Direct Sow” describes seeds that can go directly into the ground when growing conditions are ready.

Seed starting plans

It’s too early to start seeds; but it’s not too early to check your supplies and plan what seeds you will need to buy.

Start collecting your containers. Many household items can be repurposed for starting seeds; plastic salad or yogurt containers are examples. Make sure containers are clean and be sure to add drainage holes.

Seedlings like warm growing conditions; consider purchasing an inexpensive heat mat to help your seeds germinate. View our Master Gardener Volunteer Youtube video on seed starting at:

Prepare garden tools

Spend time now to ensure your garden tools are cleaned and sharpened.

For the jobs you can’t handle, look for a place that advertises blade sharpening. Use antibacterial wipes to clean tools such as pruners.

Inventory your supplies and make a list of what you will need this year: potting or garden soil, weed cloth, mulch, and other supplies.

If you need a gardening fix grow something indoors. Purchase a houseplant, or consider making a terrarium. Many indoor greenhouses, florists, and home and garden stores will have houseplants, plants for terrariums. With all of this in mind, before you know it, we’ll be able to get out there and dig in!

Consider participating in the master gardener volunteer training in 2022!Come and visit the Extension’s Parker F. Scripture Botanical Gardens, an educational component of the Oneida County Master Gardener Volunteer program. For more information, call us or visit: phone 315-736-3394, Ext 100.

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