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Plan spring garden now     Send a link to a friend

[DEC. 6, 2004]  URBANA -- Like midwinter snowstorms, gardening catalogs will arrive in flurries, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

"Take advantage of the cold winter days to sit down with these catalogs and start planning your garden," said Sharon Yiesla. "While enjoying the catalogs, keep some practical things in mind. What is the company's policy on returns if plants arrive damaged or seeds fail to sprout? Will the company substitute if the item you order is out of stock? If you are ordering perennials, trees or shrubs, are they hardy to your area?"

Consumers should make the most of the information available in the catalogs. Most catalogs will provide information on disease resistance, improved hybrids, the number of days to maturity on vegetable crops and even the proper growing conditions for each plant.

"Combine this information with past experience in your own garden and you should be able to make good selections for next spring," Yiesla said. "Avoid getting carried away and ordering more seeds or plants than you can use. Try a few new things each year, but don't abandon tried and true plants and varieties that have performed well in your garden."

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Yiesla noted that it is never too early to start planning.

"Ordering early will help ensure that you have your seeds and plants in time," she said. "Spring will be here before you know it, and you will save time if you have your garden ready for those first warm spring days."

[University of Illinois news release]

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