Gardening Season Has Begun

An unusually cold and rainy spring has finally given way to warm and sunny weather in most of the country. If you haven’t yet planted your summer #vegetable or #flower #garden, there is no time like the present.

While starting seeds indoors is the #thriftiest option, you’ll likely need to turn to the local garden center for plants that are ready to go into the ground. Now is the perfect time to plant summer-maturing plants such as corn and tomatoes.

All is not lost if you start a little late, Gilmour says. You can plant a couple of weeks late in the season, or choose vegetables, fruits and flowers that thrive and produce late in the growing season.

You’ll need to prepare the soil for whatever plants you pick. Vegetables grow best in rich, crumbly, loam soil, says Family Handyman. Tilling and amending sandy or clay soils with compost, peat, manure and other soil builders can help plants thrive.

After planting, press the soil surrounding your seedling firmly in place and water as needed. You may need to support plants such as tomatoes (which grow too tall to support their own weight) or send out vines (like grapes and beans).

Why do all of this? Because you can often get a much more flavorful and nutritious end product than you’d ever be able to buy at the grocery store at a fraction of the price. We at The Organizing Blog plant a variety of tomatoes every year for that simple fact. Is there anything better than a #homegrown tomato?

If you prefer decorative gardening, a perennial garden only requires a little bit of thinning each year. That said, you’ll want to weed and tend any beds soon, and help new plants get established to fill in any bare spots.

Container gardens, too, are an excellent option for those low on space. To slash the cost of getting started or adding to a container garden, shop the #thrift stores supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org for lightly used pots and window boxes.

Whatever you decide to grow, gardening can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby that requires only a little bit of attention each week. And the time to get started is now!

Prep Containers for Summer Gardening

Container #gardening is a great option for those who are short on #garden space or looking to dress up porches and walkways with accent plants. Before you plant, give your pots a good scrub and ensure they can drain properly, says Plant Perfect. For best results, line containers with peat and use new #potting mix rather than regular topsoil. And if you’re short on garden containers, pots and baskets, look no further than the thrift stores supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org — and shop early to find a selection of one-of-a-kind, lightly used castoffs that you can repurpose for your dream garden.

Divide Plants to Fill in Landscaping for Free

One of the best — and cheapest — ways to add more plants that have proven successful in your garden is to divide perennials, Joe Gardener says. Plants such as hostas and day lilies can be split soon after they emerge from the ground by cutting through their center of their root bulbs with a sharp shovel or spade. After digging up a portion, you can plant it in another area of your yard to improve upon your landscaping for free. Likewise, spring is also a good time to thin out any overgrown perennials — and if you no longer have room for the transplants, you can give them away to friends and neighbors.

Test Your Garden Soil Before Planting

Ensuring that your garden soil has a balanced pH and is fed the proper nutrients can help your summer vegetable garden produce better and make flowering plants flourish. “Experts recommend testing garden soil every three to five years,” Proven Winners says, to see what soil elements are lacking or overly abundant. Then, you can apply products that help get your soil into the proper balance. Generally speaking, you can’t go wrong with a layer of compost or manure, plus a plant food that’s designed for your selection of plants and amends any deficiencies in your soil’s makeup.

Plant Annuals Immediately After the Final Frost

If you’re looking to plant annuals in your flower garden this year, it’s time to get them into plots, pots and boxes. The threat of a frost ends mid-May in most areas of the United  states, and you can safely plant most annuals immediately after. Wait a couple of weeks to put in tender plants such as impatiens, The Old Farmer’s Almanac says, and “harden” them in a sheltered spot or cold frame for a week or two if you started them from seed yourself. Mulch the beds to keep weeds at bay, and enjoy the array of colors as they bloom!