While Mother Nature can remain fickle and unpredictable, if you follow these general guidelines, you’ll harvest plenty from your own gardens. This is part two of a three-part series.
Michigan’s climate lends itself to a lot of variety when it comes to crops and flowers. Being strategic about how you plan your work will make your efforts more efficient while giving you time to enjoy the fruits (veggies and blooms) of your labor. Throughout this series, I’ll provide a few examples of popular plants for a given season or purpose. If you’re curious about other plants that fit these categories, please give Willow Greenhouse a call.
If you have the ability (space and equipment) to get started inside, you can plant your longest taking seeds inside under some lights or near a south-facing window. The goal is to make sure you don’t have a crazy, overgrown plant when you’re ready to transplant it outside. Otherwise, take advantage of any mild weather we may experience to get a head start your spring cleanup.
- Herbs (early March)
- Peppers (early March)
- Tomatoes (mid-March)
If you have seedlings, early April is the time to transplant those into something bigger than the seedling tray. This will give them additional space to grow before planting them outside in mid-May — more on that later.
In mid-April, you can start some crops outside, and seed them right in the bed. They’ll come up through the frost and be just fine. These vegetables generally don’t like intense heat, so they’re best in the spring. You can then seed them again for a fall crop come September.
- Lettuces, kale, spinach, chard, & cabbage
- Sugar Snap Peas
If seeing those early spring blooms really gets you excited for the months ahead, there are a few cold-hardy, frost tolerant flowers that — while they have a short life — can handle cold nights down into the 20s.
May is probably going to be your busiest month. There are a few things you can do early in the month, but the real fun begins once the soil temperature has warmed up. In addition to getting your seedlings transplanted, you’ll also be able to direct seed some of your other vegetables. These I strongly encourage folks to do from seed because you get so much more bang for your buck. However, if you want starter plants, Willow Greenhouse has you covered.
- Sweet potatoes (early May)
- Onion and garlic sets (early May)
- Cucumbers (direct sow after May 20)
- Melons (direct sow after May 20)
- Zucchinis (direct sow after May 20)
In June, everything should be planted and now you’re looking for weeds, scouting for pests, and watering on an as-needed basis. It’s still too early for an automated system as you want to give your plants time to dry out and push those roots down. The key to a successful garden is preventative maintenance. If you’re an organic gardener, there are a lot of solutions you can use, like diatomaceous soil or neem oil. It’s much easier to prevent bugs versus dealing with an infestation. Doing those on a weekly or bi-weekly basis on your veggie and in your annual or perennial flower beds. Applying diatomaceous earth will help prevent the crawling pests, like slugs.