A local gardening expert is offering up some spring tips to residents in the area. 

Tam Andersen, who runs Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm, might just be the best person to go to for any tips regarding growing plants and maintaining a garden. 

With the abnormally warm start to the season, Andersen suggests getting a head start on your garden. 

"In our 37 years of gardening I have only ever seen it this warm once before," said Andersen. "Why not take the dive and start planting now!" 

"Things that are frost-hardy like peas, onions, and potatoes surely can go into the ground right now, so start planting!" 

Planting vegetables first is always the way to go when it comes to gardening, but there is something else you might want to consider getting a head start on. 

"It's a great time of year to start planting trees too," said Andersen. "Plant trees when they are dormant, and their roots get established before there is pressure on them to keep their leaves all green and healthy with the hot and dry weather." 

"It's a perfect time for planting fruit trees as well." 

Of course, for those wanting a quicker way to enjoy fresh fruit from trees, Prairie Gardens offers up one of the largest selections of hearty fruit trees in the country. 

"Everything you can think of from apples to plums, pears, apricots, cherries, and all sorts of bush fruits and berries as well," said Andersen. 

Though you might be eager to get everything in your garden all at once, Andersen is preaching patience for the more fragile crops. 

"Wait until after the long weekend for tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, pumpkins, and zucchini, that's my keywords of caution," said Andersen. 

Also, a common mistake that beginning gardeners often face is how often they water their gardens. Too little will kill a plant, but too much is also not great. 

"Often there is a tendency to either not water enough or kill them with kindness and overwater," said Andersen. "It's always great to water deeply and then let the plant dry up a little bit and then water again." 

"Check the soil with your fingers to see if it's wet or dry before you give them more water." 

Creating and maintaining your own fruit and vegetable garden is obviously a practice as old as time, but as food inflation rises and the COVID pandemic arrived, it has seen a bit of a resurgence. 

"People suddenly are getting back to the land and thinking 'why not grow some lettuce, why not plant my own potatoes' to try to shave some dollars off the grocery bill," said Andersen. 

There is also the benefit of having the luxury of tasting food straight from the garden which, according to Andersen, is a notch above what you can buy at the supermarket. 

"It's a zero-mile diet and it totally makes a difference," said Andersen. "If you pick something fresh and ripe from a tree or even a tomato plant your tastebuds are going to be tantalized." 

The community also has plenty of interesting native plants and flowers that can help beautify your garden as well. 

For more information on Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm, click here