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Garden Center

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Pro Service Desk(212)337-5422
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Mon-Sat: 7:00am - 9:00pm
Sun: 8:00am - 8:00pm
40 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
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Frequently Asked Questions About Gardening

What planting zone am I in?

Check the USDA plant hardiness zone map, as planting zones have shifted over the years. Zones with higher numbers can plant earlier in the year. Increase your odds of successful gardening by choosing plants that are meant for your zone.

What's direct sow?

If the soil is pliable and warm, consider planting your fruit, flower, or vegetable seeds directly into your garden. This is called the "direct sow" method. Plant after the threat of frost is gone for the season, as sprouts and seedlings can't weather those conditions. You can also start your seeds indoors if you'd like. Consult your seed envelope for how and when to sow seeds.

Do you carry organic plants and seeds?

We offer many organic gardening options, including organic fruit seeds and veggie seeds, and organic herb and flower seeds that are subject to availability. We carry the organic soil to plant it in as well as the organic fertilizer to feed it.

Do I have to harden off my seedlings before planting them outside?

Yes, if you raised plants indoors from seeds, harden them before you transplant them. Hardening is the process of getting them used to the great outdoors and rain, sun, and temperature swings. It slows their growth until they're strong and ready to take off during a spring warm front. Hardening also makes your plants more resilient to a sudden cold snap. Read your seed packets or speak to a garden center associate for more information.

Can I strengthen my seedlings before planting them outdoors?

Get your sprouts used to storms and breezy spring days with a fan and keep fungus from growing in damp conditions. Set up an oscillating fan on low to mimic the wind. Just the gentlest breeze for several hours a day will do the trick. The stems and leaves will get used to blowing in the breeze and not snap when a gust comes through. If you don't set up a fan, your seedlings may be more sensitive to strong winds. Try to plant between storms.

What are seed tapes?

If you're dealing with extremely tiny seeds or want more guidance in planting, consider seed tapes. They're biodegradable pieces of paper with tiny seeds affixed at regular intervals. Just bury the tape and water as directed. If all goes well, you'll have perfectly spaced sprouts pop up soon.

The Home Depot Garden Center at Manhattan West 23rd St

It's time to start thinking of spring. We're here to help you prepare for sprouts poking up, warmer temperatures, and fragrant breezes. Planting seeds indoors with grow lights means you'll be ready to transplant spring annuals and young veggie plants when the ground thaws and the frosts are through. You might even want to directly plant organic seeds into the earth.

Plant Hardiness Zones Explained
The first thing you should know when planting veggies, spring flowers, and other seeds is your planting zone. Every location in the U.S. and its territories is sorted into blocks by climate. Find your zone on the USDA plant hardiness zone map and learn when to plant seeds.

For example, you could transplant bell peppers outdoors in mid-March in Zone 10, but not until the end of May in Zone 4. You'll have good results with plants that have your zone number or less. In other words, a Zone 5 garden can support plants listed as Zones 1–5. You can plant seeds indoors roughly a month before you can plant them outside, or direct sow. Read your seed packet for details. If you start seeds later than recommended, it's not ideal, but it will likely even out as time passes.

Gardening in Your Growing Zone
In Zone 5, which includes parts of Pennsylvania as well as upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and southern Maine, your best bets for veggies will be root vegetables like beets and carrots, leafy greens including lettuce, and cruciferous veggies like cabbage and kale. You can try squash, but prepare for additional warming upkeep when late frost is forecast. Target planting dates are roughly mid-March through May 1st, depending on whether you're starting your seeds indoors or direct sowing.

Much of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, southern New York state, and Connecticut are in Zone 6, so planting can begin earlier there than farther north. Parts of Virginia are even warmer, coming in at Zone 7. The outdoor growing season doesn't begin until mid-March or even April, although you can plant some veggie seeds halfway through February. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash, onions, and other classic garden crops will do well in this region, and most of them can get an early start indoors before spring really moves in.

Start Seeds Indoors
Save money when you grow your garden from seeds by starting them indoors. We've got all the seed starter supplies you'll need. Make sure you have a warm and sunny spot that gets at least 12 hours of light. Then you have everything you need to try your hand at growing seeds. Early spring light isn't usually strong enough, so we recommend extra lighting to keep those seeds warm enough to germinate.

Measure your finger to use it as a ruler. In general, you'll plant 3–5 seeds, then press them into the soil to the depth you need with your finger. Mark where you planted the seeds with a toothpick or plant tag. Otherwise, it'll be a surprise when the sprouts push out of the soil.

When your seeds have sprouted but aren't ready to go outside yet, you can still prepare them for outdoor life. These inch-tall micro-seedlings are fragile but resilient. Seedlings don't get all this pampering in nature, so they can handle more than you think. However, don't go overboard, as your sprouts are still babies. You can even use an oscillating fan on low to mimic the wind and strengthen their stems.

Harden Your Seedlings
When you're hardening your sprouts and gradually introducing them to the outdoors, be flexible. Keep an eye on your baby plants. If they're looking rough, don't push them. It’s ok to roll back a step or two if need be: Bring them inside overnight or put them in shady places instead of direct sun. As always, make sure they're watered enough. Whisk wilted plants inside and give them a good drink, making sure they're strong before returning them outdoors.

Transplant Young Plants Into Their New Homes
You've raised your baby plants from seeds, watched them sprout, and carefully hardened them off to brave Mother Nature. By now, your plants have three or four true leaves — they'll look different from the miniature seedling leaves. When the ground is warm, and you're not expecting soaking rain, look into transplanting your big sprouts into their new outdoor home. These large seedlings that are ready to be planted can also be called "transplants" or "starts." In cases where you direct sowed, you may still want to shuffle plants around for the best spacing and sun. That's also a transplant situation, as is repotting plants into larger pots.

Protect Your Garden With Mulch
Finish your planting by following it with mulch and compost. Compost enriches the soil so your garden can grow even better. It may help foster stronger plants that bear more flowers and fruit. Mulch controls weeds and keeps the soil moist. Mulch and compost can be purchased in-store or created at home. The next time you're looking for "mulch near me," stop by the Garden Center to get the perfect amount.

Greet the Spring
Early spring is an exciting time in the world of gardening. Don't miss a minute of growing season. Plan your garden and landscaping, prepare to fertilize your lawn, and browse our garden center pages to find inspiration on what to plant when the weather warms. Shop for the fertilizer, soil, and seeds you need in the aisles of your Manhattan West 23rd St Garden Center, online, or on our mobile app. Let's get growing together.

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