Spring’s nearly here. Let’s get growing.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent the last few weeks dreaming of the first days that it will be warm enough to dig your hands into the garden bed. Seed catalogs pile next to my chair as I plan for plump, sun-warmed tomatoes, crisp cucumbers and fresh lettuce.
With the arrival of warmer weather, it won’t be long before produce signs begin popping up like daffodils throughout Amish Country. From large gardens to small family farms, we share a belief that dirty hands lead to a happy heart.
Here, you’ll find a variety of local businesses that can share knowledge that has been passed down through generations. Amish families grow much of their own food in gardens that are as beautiful as they are practical, and many of us have long family traditions of preserving what we grow.
The greenhouses in our communities will be bustling with activity as gardeners get an early jump on the growing season. We’ve put together a map of some of our favorite locations to find plants, outdoor decor and supplies. These businesses have been serving our community for years and are happy to share their wisdom while giving you inspiration for your own garden.
So, what goes in the ground first? My grandmother always recommended planting peas on St. Patrick’s Day. In March and April the soil is easily workable. That means things such as spinach, lettuce, radishes, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, onions, and beets should head out into the beds. These hardy vegetables can take the colder ground temperature and can even withstand any late season snowflakes.
You will also find many herbs such as chives and parsley popping back up as the weather begins to change. In fact, I’ve already cut some for an herb butter on roasted chicken.
Nature and Recreation
Spring is also a time to return to many other outdoor activities. At The Wilderness Center, you can take the kids on a scavenger hunt across hundreds of acres to find springtime treasures such as flowers, birds and frogs. The Farm at Walnut Creek will be opening at the beginning of April, giving visitors an up-close encounter with a variety of exotic animals. The milder weather may also lead you to Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery, which features farm animals as well as the first plants and produce of the season.
From horseback riding to clay shooting to miles of trails, you can find more outdoor adventures here.
In Ohio Amish Country, we’re in tune with the seasons, relishing short-lived delights like fresh asparagus and strawberries, the flowering trees and one of our most unique seasonal treats - dandelion gravy. This local delicacy will soon be available at several nearby restaurants. Many families have their own twist on this traditional dish, and this is one of our favorite recipes.
After a long winter, now is the perfect time to come out and prepare for the growing season as you awaken your senses to all that spring in Amish Country has to offer.