Even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow (again) its not too soon to start planning your Spring garden. Many edibles such as kale, chard and salad greens can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before our average last frost date of April 24 here in Central PA. That gives you just a few more weeks to stock up on seeds and supplies and to clear some space near that sunny window. If seed starting is not for you, you can plant radishes, peas, spinach, and other cold hardy vegetables directly into the ground 4-6 weeks before the last frost.
Resources at your public library can help you maximize your garden space, reduce your grocery bills and improve the health of you and your family. The Downsized Veggie Garden by Kate Copsey gives clear advice about Square Foot Gardening, a method that does away with planting in rows for higher yields (and less weeding!) Growing Vegetables The Big Yield/Small Space Way by Duane Newcomb describes inexpensive ways to protect your plants from frost and bugs using materials you already have at home like plastic gallon jugs, newspapers and coffee cans.
Principles of establishing a healthy garden are outlined in The Healthy Garden Handbook by the editors of Mother Earth News. Companion planting, crop rotation and the use of compost and natural pest remedies help new and experienced gardeners cut down on the use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides to save money and our planet.
If vegetable gardening is not your passion, the library boasts numerous books about annual and perennial flower gardening. Sound advice from local gardening expert George Weigel in Pennsylvania: Getting Started Garden Guide and gorgeous photos in The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust will put you on track for beautiful color and happy butterflies all season long. These and so many other gardening guides are waiting for you at the Dillsburg Area Public Library. Call (717-432-5613) or go online to reserve your choices in time for the growing season, or stop by the library. Happy gardening!