There are many great reasons to start a garden, such as growing fresh, nutritious produce, getting more exercise or just beautifying your yard. If you’ve decided to give your green thumb a workout, one of the most important factors in your garden’s success is getting those plants in the ground at the right time. Whether you’re starting a garden for the first time or you’re a seasoned planter, here’s how to know the right time to plant your garden.
Consider Your Climate
The best time to plant largely depends on the climate where you live. Most seed packets include a map of the different climate zones and the best time to plant for each zone. If your seeds lack this information, you can purchase a planting calendar or find one online for free. Your local library, county extension office or local horticultural society may also offer resources.
Summer or Fall Garden?
If you thought gardening was only a summer hobby, think again. Hardy vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and kale grow best in cool weather and make great choices for an early spring or fall garden. Cucumbers, eggplants and watermelons, on the other hand, do best when planted in warm weather and allowed to ripen in the sun. Always make sure the plants you choose are suitable for the season to ensure a high-yield garden and great-tasting fruits and vegetables.
Wait Until After the Last Freeze
The first and last frost dates are vital information for planting your garden. Many plants, including tomatoes, basil, summer squash and most annual flowers, will not survive a frost, which means that planting these too early or too late can leave your garden bare. A frost map can provide a rough guide, but monitoring your local weather forecasts is the best way to know when it’s safe to plant.
Consult a Professional
Do you want to take the guess work out of your garden? Consider hiring a professional horticulturist or landscaper to take care of garden maintenance and provide advice about planting and tending your garden. Professionals have access to exclusive products, years of training and the latest knowledge about everything from pruning techniques to pest control.
If your garden fails to produce despite your best efforts, don’t despair. You can salvage a failed garden by replanting. Try hardy flowers like tickseed, begonias and hostas. Herbs like mint and parsley are also very hardy and do well in pots or baskets that can be moved indoors.