It already feels like summer outside, but mid-spring, around Mother’s Day, is actually the perfect time for summer planting. With temperatures warm enough by day and night, it’s a safe time to plant any summer flowers, like begonias, zinnias, marigolds, and impatiens, as well as summer vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. It’s even warm enough to plant herbs outside, including finicky types like basil that don’t like any colder temperatures.
It’s important to keep all summer plants well watered, especially the first month after planting when their roots are small. Even if a plant’s label says it’s drought resistant, that’s not necessarily true during its first month in the ground. Mulching around your new plants will also help keep moisture in the ground.
For fertilizer, try using a slow release osmocote. Vegetables are usually heavy feeders, so you may also want to try some Miracle Grow to make sure they’re getting plenty of nutrients.
Pest control is important, too. For insects, you can use organic options if you don’t like chemical pesticides. You can also try companion planting, or growing certain flowers that benefit vegetables. Marigolds, for instance, are a good companion for many crops because they distract pests and stimulate vegetable growth.
For small animals like rabbits that like to eat flowers and veggies, try a short chicken wire fence to keep them out.
Weeding and pruning are also important tasks in your garden, and now is the perfect time of year to tackle them. Pruning often gets put on the backburner, but mid-spring is when it’s easiest to see what needs to be done. You may see a lot of dead tips that can be pruned, and it’s also a good time to do any thinning for plants like boxwoods for the start of the season.
Warm weather also mean you can bring out any houseplants you’ve been keeping inside the winter so they can enjoy the sunshine.
Visit our website for more gardening tips, or call our Horticulture Answer Service at (314) 577-5143. Master Gardeners are available by phone from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.
Public Information Specialist