It’s time to start planting, gardening experts say –

SALT LAKE CITY — Maybe it was the flowers, or the soon-to-be-fruit, or just the smell of fresh mulch. Whatever it was, Loren Nielsen couldn’t stop smiling.

“I’m passionate about it. I’ve been doing it for 38 years,” said Nielsen, who owns Wasatch Shadows Nursery in Sandy.

“It’s not the most lucrative industry, but it gives us a lot of satisfaction when we can help people do things they really want to do,” Nielsen said.

Right now, his satisfaction is sky high.

For many nurseries and greenhouses, the start of spring means more business; and the No. 1 question he’s getting from customers is: “Is it too soon to start planting?”

The answer depends on what you want to plant.

“The vegetables that could go in the ground without the consumer worrying at all are what we call our cold-hearty vegetables,” Nielsen said, “things like cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, peas.”

For flowers, Nielsen says pansies are perfect right now.

“We always joke and say this was the most misnamed plant there ever was,” Nielsen laughed. “We call it a pansy, and that normally refers to something that’s not very tough, but these plants are hardened. They’re ready to go in the ground.”

Of course the trick is knowing if a plant you’re buying has been hardened through the winter.

Nielsen says some flowers and vegetables had to be started inside and then gradually moved outside so it’s not such an abrupt temperature change.


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