Economy playing role in what you plant in your garden

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A few weeks ago plenty of people thought we'd be well into planting by now, but spring fools us most years in Utah.

There are things you can get started on, and some gardeners are branching out. Stormy weather still batters many neighborhoods.

Despite serious pruning from Mother Nature, most of our trees and gardens will survive and they'll get a wet start.

Garden centers eagerly stock the shelves and await the sun to shine. Customers stay away when warm weather is delayed. Tina Cerling, with the Western Garden Center in Salt Lake City said, "People don't like to be outside buying plants when it's nasty weather."

But, the staff at the garden center expects there is pent-up demand to get into the garden. "It can change in an eye blink," said Cerling. "I think it's going to change this weekend. It can go from absolutely dead to full out in a day or two."

Local growers can steer you toward annuals you can put in the ground this weekend, and many perennials are OK.

Here's a sign of the times and a growing trend, the garden center is getting more questions from people who want to put in vegetable gardens or expand the garden areas they have.

"Partly it's the economy," Cerling said. "Partly people see how expensive things are in the grocery stores and they think, 'I can do a better job.'"

It's still too early for tomatoes, egg plant and peppers. But cold weather crops like cabbage, broccoli, chard, spinach and peas can get started. "They like growing their own and then going to the Farmer's Markets and buying other things locally. I think people are realizing that produce from your own garden tastes better, because it really does," Cerling said.

People are saving money and using precious water for something that ends up on the table. Gardening takes some soil preparation, and the professionals also recommend to start with three or four vegetables, don't get too ambitious to early.


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Jed Boal


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