BOISE, Idaho — Spring officially arrives on Saturday, and even though this past winter was a fairly mild one, any winter is too much winter if you’re an avid gardener. And for many of us, our backyard gardens became a welcome retreat during the anxious days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Our resident garden master Jim Duthie is back with another season of You Can Grow It, sharing gardening tips, as well as your pictures and success stories, whether you’re a beginning gardener, or an experienced green thumb.
Spring is on our doorstep, so it’s time to get going with another season of You Can Grow It. Our green thumbs are waking up and stretching and ready to play in the dirt, and we can’t wait to start growing things. It’s still pretty early in the season to get a lot of things going outside, but Idaho gardeners aren’t ones to let the grass grow under their feet. or are they? Let me show you a few things our fellow gardeners have been doing while we’re waiting for spring to officially arrive.
When winter weather forced our green thumbs indoors, Melissa Stoner kept hers in shape by planting an amaryllis bulb. This gorgeous red flower is usually a Christmas favorite, but you can grow it anytime of year. Melissa also drew upon her tropical connection, growing some citrus indoors, with this Meyer lemon tree. I’m hoping she’ll share a little fresh lemonade with me later this year.
Michelle Chappell-Norris also channeled the tropics, meeting the challenge to grow pineapple indoors. I hope she’ll share pictures with us when the fruit gets bigger.
Some of you plan ahead for spring by planting bulbs that wake up with the longer days. Pam Culp’s purple crocus is one of the earliest signs of spring on the way.
Along with crocuses, the dwarf iris, or iris reticulata, is another early bloomer. Pam Mittleider found these beauties popping up in her flower bed.
And Lorna Huff has a nice cluster of snow drops coming up in her garden. Early spring bulbs are the easiest things to grow. Just plant the bulbs in the fall and enjoy the colorful treat in the last days of winter.
You can also force flowering bulbs to grow and bloom indoors, as Melinda Campbell has done. She has daffodils, tulips, and other flowers coming up in decorative jars, pots and vases inside. Then, after the flowers are gone, she can plant the bulbs outdoors.
Gaby Saltos was looking for a way to bring a little spring vibe indoors, too. After pruning her peach tree, she stuck the cuttings in water and brought them inside, where they’ve begun to bloom into pretty pink blossoms. She won’t get any peaches from these cuttings, but that’s okay. There are plenty more blossoms on the tree outside.
Coleus is a beautiful plant with colorful foliage, but it can’t take the cold. Helena Hanson took cuttings from her redhead coleus and rooted them indoors. They’ve done so well that she’s been giving them away.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve never met a package of seeds you didn’t like. I’m always trying different varieties of flowers and veggies, and as you can see, one of my preferred places to buy seeds is at Seed Savers Exchange. I also save some seeds myself, like these milkweed seeds, which I plant around the garden to lure in the Idaho state insect, the monarch butterfly, to my garden. Milkweed isn’t invasive, and it produces a pretty flower, besides being the only food that monarch butterfly larvae will eat.
Now is the perfect time to start your seeds indoors, since most flowers and vegetables will need 4-8 weeks to grow before you can plant them outdoors, and by then we’ll be well into spring. Lorraine Pullen started her petunias indoors from seeds about a month ago, and it looks like she’s well on her way to growing some pretty flowers.
Finally, every serious gardener dreams of having a greenhouse, where you can grow things throughout the year. Beth Swope’s new greenhouse project is almost finished, and we look forward to seeing what she grows in it this spring.
As you can see, spring is starting to pop up here and there, and Idaho gardeners are ready to welcome its arrival. And whether you’re a garden rookie or an experienced veteran, or just new to gardening in Idaho, You Can Grow It is here for you every week, on TV or online. So start exercising those green thumbs, and get started on what is sure to be another great growing season.
You can keep your green thumb in shape by joining the KTVB You Can Grow It Facebook group, and post your gardening pictures, share tips, and ask questions.
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