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GROWING GREEN: Spring tips for the happy gardener

While gazing at the piles of snow, it’s hard to imagine that sometime in the not too distant future we will be knee deep in garden chores with not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
That’s when we need to garden smarter to lessen the load.
Here are some tips to do that:
• Germinate a few of those old seeds lurking in the cupboard between moist, paper towels sealed in a plastic sandwich bag. If they are viable they will germinate within a week or so and you won’t have wasted precious time sowing worthless seeds.
• Sow fine seed mixed with clean white sand or fine, dried coffee grounds; this will disperse seed more evenly and cut down on thinning out.
Lay an inexpensive vinyl table cloth in the trunk of your car and use plastic grocery baskets to keep purchased plants snug and upright. No messy trunk to clean up.
• Don’t be tempted to plant too early as tender annual flowers and vegetable plants won’t withstand a cold snap and seeds will rot in wet cold ground.
• Use coffee filters to line pots and mulch containers with pea gravel to conserve moisture and to help prevent little critters from digging in them.
• A mixture of 1 quart white vinegar and a 1/4 cup of salt sprayed on cracks between pavers on patios and walkways cuts down on hours of hand weeding and sore backs.
• Stake floppy plants early so as to avoid frustration later on. Old golf clubs and hockey sticks make great stakes and rolls of galvanized fencing can be cut to size to make plant cages.
Happy gardening!
Growing Green is a regular feature prepared by the  Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society (gardenontario.org/site.php/mhhs). Helen MacPherson, vice-president of the society, wrote this report.

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