Tips for the Season
A Fresh Awakening…and a Delicious Spring and Summer Planting Guide
Spring is fickle and we never know what to expect but one thing is for sure, every gardener gets the itch right about now to dig in, feel the dirt. Before starting to dig is good to have a plan. Everything I’ve been reading suggests that edible gardens (herbs, fruit, and vegetables) are on the rise. I know I plan on mixing some tomatoes and peppers throughout my flower beds. It’s a great way to cut down on your food bill and eat healthy. You can use this as a basic guide on what to plant, when, and with other plants (interplanting).
Best Planted into the Ground as Seeds
- Beans, Bush and Pole
- Cucumbers, & Squash
Best Planted in the Ground as small plants
- Brussels sprouts
When to Plant
In our area, zone 5, the average frost free date is May 15th. It is usually is safe to plant the majority of your vegetables (such as tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce, etc.) on this date, but there is a chance we may still have a frost through 30 May. If a frost warning is forecasted, simply cover your plants with sheets, bath towels or light blankets for protection. For smaller container plants you can simply move them to a protected area such as a porch roof or into the garage for the night.
Peas can be sown directly into the ground after St. Patrick’s Day! This is about the only plant you want to seed this early.
Spinach, beets, collards, radishes, turnips, carrots, potatoes, and beans can usually be sown directly into the ground around May 1st. Be sure you mark all your plants so you know what is growing in each row.
Interplanting: Making the Best Use of Space
Interplanting, also known as intercropping, or companion planting, is the practice of planting to fit variety of vegetables into your allotted space. You can also interplant vegetables with flowers to add some pizzazz to your garden and encourage beneficial insects that feed on pollen.
For example, the Native American’s planted corn, pole beans, and squash together. The corn served as support for the beans and in turn the beans release nitrogen into the soil. The squash covers the bare ground. You can also plant a fast growing plant with a slow growing plant. Brussels sprouts planted among spinach allows the slow growing Brussels sprouts all the time they need to grow, by the time they need more room, the spinach will have already been harvested. This works the same with radishes and beets.
Some of my favorite things to plant together are basil with tomatoes or peppers, beets with lettuce, the Brussels spouts, cabbage, broccoli, or cabbage with chamomile, peppermint, or dill. Feel free to include your favorite flowers to encourage butterflies and beneficial insects. Some of my favorite flowers to plant around the garden are cosmos, cleome, snapdragons, alyssum, marigolds, and lavender.