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Life Lessons: Spring garden

By Nancy Werteen, Anchor / Reporter, NWerteen@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 24 2014 04:00:00 AM CDT

Life Lessons Spring garden

LOWER MILFORD TWP., Pa. -

After the winter we’ve have had, we are all looking forward to seeing our gardens come alive this spring and summer.

Paul Hardiman, head grower at the Dan Schantz Greenhouse in Lower Milford Twp.,, Lehigh Co., says the greenhouse is ready.

"I think people are just going to be wanting a lot of color. We've been looking at brown grass and snow for so long so once the weather breaks, I think people are going to be really hungry for some nice color in their gardens," Hardiman says.

At the massive facility Dan Schantz operates, preparations are underway for Easter, which Paul says is always a busy time of year for growers.

"We do 5 and a half million bulbs: tulips, hyacinth and daffodils and right now we have 288,000 white lillies."

Despite the busy Easter season, the small details of spring and summer gardens in the Lehigh Valley have been in the planning stages at Dan Schantz for months.

"We have an extensive trial garden, flowers and vegetables and we select the best varieties that grow here in Lehigh County."

Hardiman explains that the philosophy of Dan Schantz is to spend more on production to make sure the company's plants will thrive.

The facility supplies stores, like the Dan Schantz store on Lehigh Street in Allentown, as well as Walmart and Lowe's.

Dan Schantz also offers an extensive fundraising campaign to organizations in the area, like schools.

Hardiman says the first thing you should plant in your home garden are flowers that will give you lots of color and resilience.

"This season I would start with dianthus, pansies and snapdragons. They are frost tolerant."

And if you like a vegetable garden?

"I would be thinking along the lines of cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, starting those seeds up now. And in five or six weeks from now, look to transplant them into your garden."

Of course in the greenhouse, the weather is under control but in your garden, there may be some problems left over from the harsh winter.

"I would suspect some of the not so hardy perennials because of the length of the snow we had may not survive," explains Hardiman.

Garden experts say you might also notice some problems in your yard from voles.

They usually hide under ground cover but with all the snow this winter, the voles got confused.

If you see the tell tale zig zag tunnels on your lawn, experts say scatter some new grass seed in the spots and water well.