Spring is here! And while this spring definitely feels and looks different from anything we're used to, nature is still something we can embrace. If you're a gardener, this is probably one of your favorite times of the year. And if you have some extra time on your hands these days, you might want to give it a try this season! There are a lot of benefits to gardening as a hobby. You'll spend time outside (get that vitamin D!), burn calories, do something productive, and relieve stress. Plus, if you plant a vegetable garden, it'll encourage you to eat healthier and need less at the grocery store. It's also an activity that the whole family can enjoy!

Below are some gardening tips for experienced gardeners and the newbies, too. And if you're wondering where you can even shop for gardening supplies these days, scroll to the bottom. We've included local spots that are offering safe shopping options for Spring 2020.

Gardening Tips

Check Your Soil

It is important to make sure your soil is balanced and has the nutrients your plants need in it. Check the acid balance of your soil: most plants like a neutral soil, which means a ph reading of around 7 or just below. Soil PH testers are easy and cheap to buy from garden centers. If your soil is too acidic, then use lime to neutralize it. Organic matter helps feed plants, and should be mixed into your soil. If you don’t already have a compost heap, now might be the time to start one, or you can buy commercial compost in bags.

Treat Your Lawn

To have a healthy lawn, you need healthy soil. You don’t need strong chemical fertilizers. Some fertilizers can actually damage the lawn, causing the leaves to grow quicker than the roots and actually encouraging weeds. If your lawn is looking a little tired after winter, then there are things you can do to get it looking green and gorgeous without the need for chemicals. First, check its ph balance as you did for your soil. It should be slightly acidic, so around ph 5-6. Make sure you lawn is well aerated. Work over it with a fork, allowing both water and air to get to the roots of your grass. Spring is the best time of year to get rid of moss and use crabgrass preventer.

Make Plans

Spring is the time of year to make plans for your garden. What do you want to achieve over the next year? If you are just starting your garden, then you have a blank canvas. If you already have a mature garden, think about what you might like to do with it. Do you want to put in some new beds? Create a new water feature? Lay a new patio for summer barbecues? As plants grow best at this time of year, it is the ideal time to try out some new things.

Plant Flowers and Shrubs

This is a good time of year to sow some hardy annuals. Some less-hardy annuals should be started indoors, and then planted out in a month or so. Spring is also a good time to plant new shrubs and perennials, and to move shrubs from pots into beds. Make sure that before you plant anything you give your beds a thorough weeding: if the plants that you are putting out are growing fast, so will any weeds, so make sure you get them before they grow and become a nuisance. It is a good idea to give your beds a cover of organic fertilizer too.

VegetablesWork on Your Vegetable Garden

If you haven’t grown vegetables before, this could be the right time to start. After the last frost, you have license to plant pretty much anything in your vegetable plot.  In Bucks County, the last frost date is typically in early May. This is the easiest and most rewarding time of year to grow vegetables, so it is a good time to start if you are a beginner vegetable gardener. Try lettuce, cabbage, beets, broccoli, potatoes, pumpkins, corn and squash to name just a few. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and cucumber can also be planted in spring, but they are best started indoors and then gently moved outside.

Spring gardening is fun. You get to see the fruits of your labors very quickly, and being out working on the garden is much more enjoyable in the warmer weather than it was in winter.

Local Spots That Can Help

Gasper Home & Garden – 2020 Happening List Winner

316 Tanyard Road, Richboro

Gasper is responding to COVID-19 by offering several ways to shop with them. If you would still like to shop in the store, they have implemented a variety of precautionary measures such as wider aisles (where possible) for better browsing and safe distancing between customers, outdoor checkout area that includes a safe distance between cashier and customer, a sanitizing area for shopping carts, and more. All flowers, plants, shrubs and trees are available in a safe, outdoor environment. They are also offering “Senior Hours” Monday through Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

If you prefer to shop from your home, you can choose either curbside pickup or delivery. Find out more here.

Seasons Garden Center – 2020 Happening List Finalist

1069 River Road, Washington Crossing

Seasons Garden Center is offering several ways for you to shop. Choose from delivery, curbside pickup, or shop by appointment. To place an order (or set up a shopping visit) give them a call. They're happy to guide you through the process. Be sure to follow along on Facebook, as they're attempting to post photos as they receive new deliveries.

Froehlich's Farm and Garden – 2020 Happening List Finalist

3143 York Road, Furlong

As of May 2, Froehlich's is now OPEN for in-store shopping Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Masks are required, and please only send 1-2 people per family. Read all of the guidelines here. Curbside pickup is offered Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here for more information on how to place your order. And take a look at their Facebook page for current availability, photos, and pricing or current inventory and products.

Fairless Hills Garden Center – 2020 Happening List Finalist

636 Lincoln Highway, Fairless Hills

Fairless Hills Garden Center is open for in-person shopping. Their hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 days a week. They're asking that Seniors and those that are immune-compromised shop the first of last hour of the day. Customers that choose to shop in the store should shop alone or just in pairs (no large groups or families), practice social distancing – staying at least 6 feet away from other shoppers, pay with a credit card if possible, and wear gloves and a mask if you have them.

Shady Brook Farm

931 Stony Hill Road, Yardley

Shady Brook Farm is offering curbside pickup from their Garden Center. Place an order online or over the phone. You will be given a time for pickup. When you arrive, drive past the farm market, make a left on the gravel drive and stop there. A staff member will bring out your order. You can also order mulch for delivery. Follow on Facebook for updates.

Castle's Garden, Lawn & Landscape

1120 E. Bristol Road, Oakford

(Photo from Castle's Facebook page.)

Castle's is remaining open during this time from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m daily. According to their Facebook page, crowds are minimal and easily spread out. It is almost all open air shopping. You can also schedule curbside pickup or pay $10 for delivery when you spend $50 or more.

Buckmans Garden Works

1814 S. Easton Road, Doylestown

Buckmans is currently open for in-store shopping Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They're also offering curbside pickup or delivery. For delivery, you must order a minimum of $50 product. It is free up to 5 miles.

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