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  • Garden events in Middle Tennessee

    Now – April 27: Cheekwood in Bloom festival, six weeks of family-friendly activities – garden tours, live music, interactive programs and more – and showcasing 100,000 brilliantly colored tulips set to bloom across the grounds in early April. Complete schedule of activities at cheekwood.org.

    Every Saturday now – May 31: Volunteer to help weed, plant, harvest and care for the Unity in DiversityPeaceGarden, a learning garden on the campus of Scarritt-Bennett designed to cultivate conversations about diversity and sustainability issues, and to foster individual and collective action. 1 – 3 p.m.; bring water, gardening tools and gloves. 1008 19th Ave. So. in Nashville. To learn more about the program, visit www.scarrittbennett.org.

    April 26: The sixth annual Herb & Craft Fair sponsored by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. Shop for herb seedlings, heirloom tomatoes and other plants, and a wide selection of handcrafted items: pressed-flower cards, calendars, gift and jewelry items; natural handmade soaps with essential oils and fragrant herbs; Sewn and hand-knit items, sweet breads, herb breads, spice mixes and rubs, herbal vinegars, jams, jellies, chutney and more.

    April 26:MontgomeryCounty Master Gardener Plant Sale, Clarksville Library, 350 Pageant Lane in Clarksville. Hours are 8 – 11:30 a.m. or until sold out.

    May 3: Middle Tennessee Iris Society show at EllingtonAgriculturalCenter’s Ed Jones Auditorium (440 Hogan Rd. in Nashville). Entries admitted 7 a.m. – 10 a.m., judging begins at 10:30 a.m., and the show opens to the public 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. To learn more about MTIS, visit www.middletnirisociety.org.

    May 3: Robertson County Master Gardeners plant sale, 408 North Main Street in Springfield, Tenn., 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. or until all plants are sold. Informational classes will be held throughout the day Details at www.rcmga.org.

    May 10: Middle Tennessee Hosta Society plant sale with more than 300 varieties of hosta, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Maryland Farms YMCA, 5101 Maryland Way in Brentwood. Details and a plant list available at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 10: Master Gardeners of DavidsonCounty host a cemetery tour at the historic NashvilleCityCemetery, and 10 – 11:30 a.m. Visitors will see the cemetery with plants that would be found there around 1862, and learn about the lives of some of Nashville’s famous citizens. Free and open to the public. To learn more contact the Metro Historical Commission, 862-7970.

    May 10 – Sunflower Café Spring Market,local farmers, nurseries and artisans offering garden plants and items and handcrafted items. Shop, eat and drink 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 2834 Azalea Place, Berry Hill, Nashville.

    May 17: Master Gardeners of Davidson County Urban Gardening Festival, featuring exhibitors, artisans, vendors and workshops on a wide range of gardening topics. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the DemonstrationGarden at Ellington Agricultural Center, 5201 Marchant Drive. Admission and parking are free. Details at www.mgofdc.org.

    May 17: Backyard Beekeeping at WarnerParkNatureCenter, an introduction to residential beekeeping led by D’ganit Eldar, Melissa Donahue and NatureCenter volunteers, 9 – 11 a.m. Registration (adults only) opens May 2; call (615) 352-6299 to register.

    May 20: Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Jason Reeves from UT Jackson Extension will speak on reliable garden plants – perennials and annuals, trees and vines -- that will last for years in your garden. Refreshments at 6:30, program begins at 7. Open to the public.

     

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Sowing seeds indoors: get a jump on the season

Question: When is the time to start vegetables and annual flowers indoors to plant outside in spring?

Start seeds indoors soon to plant in the garden this spring.

Start seeds indoors soon to plant in the garden this spring.

The time to start seedlings indoors depends on plants’ individual growth rates and the recommended dates in your area for putting plants in the ground. To figure the seed-starting date, start with the recommended planting time, calculate the plant’s germination and growing time (often noted on the seed package), and count back the required number of weeks to reach the date for starting the seeds.For example, to grow seedlings of a warm-season flower like zinnias in Middle Tennessee (where The Garden Bench calls home), we can plan on putting transplants in the ground after mid-April, the area’s last average frost date. The approximate growing time for zinnia seedlings is about 4-6 weeks, so you can sow zinnia seeds indoors early- to mid-March. Tomato seeds, another warm-weather favorite, can be sown in flats indoors 5 – 7 weeks before it’s time to transplant, so we can plan on starting them early in March.

To start cool-weather vegetables indoors, begin much earlier. For example, some leaf lettuces can be started indoors 4 weeks before the soil outdoors can be worked; bigger, tougher cool-season favorites like broccoli and cauliflower need 5 to 7 weeks to reach transplanting size. Sowing indoors now until the end of January can provide transplants ready to go in the ground at the end of February.

Give the seedlings plenty of light and the recommended moisture as they grow, and harden them off – expose them gradually to outdoor weather – before planting them in the ground.

Thinking of spring?

Spring will be here before you know it. Here are the dates of a few favorite Middle Tennessee events that you can put on your calendar now:

Jan. 21: The Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood botanical Garden. Speaker is Tom Harper, with a presentation on the Mid America Orchid Congress meeting in Dayton. Refreshments at 6:30, meeting at 7 p.m. open to the public.

Feb. 1: The Land Trust for Tennessee’s Glen Leven Farm presents a beekeeping workshop. Beekeeper Trevor Qualls, from Bon Aqua Springs Apiaries, offers an introduction to the fascinating world of honeybees, 10 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., $35. Space is limited. To register, contact Christine Burk at CBurk@landtrusttn.org or 615-308-1711.

Feb. 27 – March 2: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. This year’s theme is “Wine & Roses” and will offer visitors the chance to sample wine from area vineyards.

April 5: Perennial Plant Society’s annual plant sale at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. Doors open at 9 a.m. There will be more than 450 varieties of plants for gardens big and small, plus expert advice on choosing and growing the perfect plant from PPS gardeners. Free admission; parking fee at the Fairgrounds is $5. For more details and a full plant list visit www.ppsmt.org.

April 26: The sixth annual Herb & Craft Fair sponsored by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville. Shop for herb seedlings, heirloom tomatoes and other plants, and a wide selection of handcrafted items: pressed-flower cards, calendars, gift and jewelry items; natural handmade soaps with essential oils and fragrant herbs; Sewn and hand-knit items, sweet breads, herb breads, spice mixes and rubs, herbal vinegars, jams, jellies, chutney and more.

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2 Responses

  1. Gloria, your writing about sowing seeds indoors jolted me into action. I usually don’t sow indoors, although I know it’s a good thing. But as I have a packet of zinnia seeds just waiting, I’l going to do the right thing. Cheers!

    • Lee, one nice thing about sowing indoors is that it gives you something to look forward to on days like today. Flurries are flying again in Middle Tennessee!

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