Want a Summer Garden? Do These Four Things Now

Having your own vegetable garden can make it easier to cook healthy meals, help you save money at the supermarket and give you a fun hobby that keeps you active and reduces stress. But it won’t happen magically—you have to actually get the garden started! Here’s how to do it:

  • Decide what you want to grow. There’s a reason Michigan isn’t known for its oranges or papayas—not every plant will thrive here. But many will, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, kale, carrots, green beans, peas, squash, cucumbers and beets. Pick varieties you love to eat since the goal of the garden is to grow items that will end up on your plate!
  • Buy plants from a gardening store. The growing season in Michigan is too short for you to just put seeds in the ground in May and expect lots of vegetables. You’ll want to get plants that have already been started and come in little pots. Next year, if you want to start from seeds, get your garden growing indoors in March.
  • Select the perfect spot. You are going to want a part of your yard that gets a lot of sun, has good soil (nothing too wet or with too much clay) and is close to a water source like a hose.
  • Pick the right day to plant. Most of Michigan will see its last frost in May or early June. You want to wait until after the last frost to plant many warm-weather vegetables (root veggies are hardier). Check this chart to see when the last frost typically occurs in different Michigan cities.

Once your garden is growing, you might feel a little overwhelmed by all the fresh produce. Don’t let any go to waste! Cook up a new recipe, give some to friends, or even try preserving or fermenting your vegetables.

For more help starting a garden, check out these posts:

Photo credit: elizaraxi

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