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Getting your garden ready for spring

Pine Hill Nursery in Traverse City

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU)--It’s about that time of year again, for Pine Hill Nursery’s Traverse City location to open for the season.

“When we think about the first days of spring, most of us can't wait to get out into the garden and start working,” said owner Jeanine Rubert, who opened Pine Hill Nursery in 1978 with her brother Ralph. "I think it’s in our nature. Once you start gardening, if you’ve never done it before, something wakes up in your spirit.”

While Rubert says now is the time to start planning for your garden, she also advises not to go full steam ahead just yet.

“The first thing I like to tell people to start with is not work your soil too soon," Rubert said. "With the moisture in the soil left over from melting snow and early spring rains, if you work that soil when it’s too wet, you can press a lot of the air out of it and it becomes very compacted and it’s harmful to the roots of plants.”

To determine if the soil is still too wet, Rubert has a simple test.

“Walk out into the garden, grab a handful of soil, squeeze it into a ball in your hand, and then just touch it lightly," she says. "If it stays together, it’s too wet, you need to wait a few more days and let it dry out. If it breaks apart into a nice crumble, then you’re OK to start.”

You also want to make sure you don’t start pruning ahead of schedule.

“You can prune down your roses, so summer flowering shrubs are what we prune now," Rubert explained. "If shrubs flower in the spring, you wait and prune those later.”

For beginners looking to start a vegetable garden, Rubert says it’s not as intimidating as it may seem.

“I like to tell people just start out small," she said. "Think of what you eat the most, and just try going those.”

Whether it’s filled with vegetables or flowers, Rubert believes a garden has plenty of benefits. However nothing compares to eating what you grow.

“There’s nothing that beats the feeling of going out into the garden on a warm summer day, picking that tomato, that first ripe tomato, and eating it right out there in the yard," Rubert said. "There’s nothing like it.”

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