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Planting ahead: Omaha gardening experts say it's time to start planning and planting

Posted at 7:52 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 15:48:23-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — There may be a chill in the air this week, but now is the time to start planning what you want to plant this year and maybe even start planting some seeds.

The Big Garden and City Sprouts are two nonprofits focused on teaching people how to grow their own food.

“There’s pride in that. And seeing the fruits of their labor after a hard day's work," said Thomas Neal, executive director of The Big Garden. "And they get to taste some amazing vegetables.”

For The Big Garden, every season is gardening season. With plenty of life growing in their greenhouse through winter.

But Neal says for those waiting to start their outdoor gardens in late April or early May, now is a good time to start planning.

"Get out your old tools. Get those cleaned up," Neal said. "Get them ready to go. Get them sharpened. Decide kind of how you want your beds to look.”

Neal says now is also a good time to get your soil tested for minerals. You can find out more about that through the UNL Extension Office.

Aaron French, Manager of Urban Farm Initiatives with City Sprouts, said starting early could help you avoid seed supply shortages.

"We faced some kind of challenges during COVID with runs on seed companies. Stuff selling out, being back-ordered," French said. "I think we're kind of through that with a lot of the major seed companies now, but definitely if there's a variety you like buy it now."

If you can’t wait to get your hands in some soil there are some ways to start planting inside now, no greenhouse required.

"We’ve had folks who started seeds on top of their fridge because of the extra bottom heat warms the soil which helps plants germinate," French said. "On a great south-facing windowsill will work. A lot of folks use plastic domes to cover a tray that adds some humidity.”

Some good plants to start inside now and transplant outside later are eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, cabbage and broccoli.

If starting your own garden feels intimidating, you can join one of the dozens ofalmost a hundred community gardens in the metro.

"In the case of a community garden, getting to know your neighbors and engage directly with your community and community members is really valuable," French said.

City Sprouts and The Big Garden both have educational classes to help you get started.

There will be a seed share program happening Saturday, March 19, at the Fabric Lab. You can get seeds for your garden and talk with the experts there during the event.




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