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Let it grow! Let it grow! Let it grow!

We are finally done with cold, snowy days and ready to dig in the dirt and start planting.

Many of us have gotten a jump on our starts, and we are ready to get planting. Fort Scott Presbyterian Village has many gardening enthusiasts and even started its very own gardening club.

In preparation for the gardening month of April, Presbyterian Village invited Austin Bolinger, the horticultural therapist for Tri-Valley Developmental Services of Fort Scott, to speak to residents and the gardening club. He offered them the best tips on how to start their gardens.

“There are many reasons for starting seeds indoors,” Austin said. “These include a head start on your plants for the growing season, larger harvests and a larger variety of plants to put in your garden. Plus the added enjoyment of watching your plants grow!”

Austin brought soil pods, along with a variety of different seeds, and went through a step-by-step process of getting the starts going. Location, soil, and plants are the key elements to a successful garden.

“You need to get your starts going before the end of March,” Austin said. “Tomatoes and peppers you can hold off until a little later on.”

Residents had their notepads filled with great information from all of the advice Austin gave in answer to the residents’ many questions. Fort Scott is in the U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 6. Knowing your zone can help when deciding what plants will grow best.

Austin plans to come back this month to assist with transplanting our starts to the soil. Austin has a true passion not only for plants but also helping people. He trained under horticultural therapist Barbara McCord, who recently retired after 16 years and helped create the program to build the greenhouse. Austin says sharing his knowledge of plants and flowers is something he truly enjoys.

If Austin is not available, another great resource to answer your gardening questions is Here you can find the answers to almost any question you may have about gardening. There is also a detailed guide on what to plant and when.

In early May, Tri-Valley will host its annual plant sale located at 4305 Campbell Dr. in the greenhouse. Here you can find a variety of plants, flowers and vegetables. Residents Minnie Lou and Georgie went last year and can’t wait to see what they will have this year.

Did you know? Back in the 1980s, the National Garden Bureau worked with 23 co-sponsoring national horticultural organizations to legislate National Garden Week. President Reagan signed the proclamation on April 18, 1986. National Garden Week was first celebrated April 12 to 18, 1987. In 2002, the National Gardening Association extended the week to encompass the entire month.

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