The final frost passed through a few days ago, and my hands have been buried in dirt ever since. Someone informed me, “Don’t plant outdoors till after April 15th”, as I almost planted on the 12th. Lo and behold, temperatures plummeted towards the freezing range on April 14 and 15th. Every season, I learn something new.

Are you looking to plant but unsure of where to begin?

Read ahead for specifics regarding regional gardening and how to explore your options further.

What Should You to Plant?

Carefully consider what’s worth growing. Are you planting for aesthetics or tackling a permaculture challenge? If you’re planting for visual appeasement, stick with ornamental plants. Our kale we enjoyed last fall and winter was technically ornamental and still totally edible. If you’re planting vegetables, decide what you eat most and compare the most costly produce at the grocery store. Growing pricier veggies and herbs will save you money in the long-haul.

If you’re searching for easy-to-grow vegetables, check out Eating Well’s list of full-proof veggies and herbs. I can assure you, based on past experiences, bush beans, snap peas, carrots, basil. cilantro and thyme grow effortlessly. Tomatoes tend to do well in Nashville, too, but you must diligently water frequently, since tomatoes beg for water like a thirsty stray facing a drought.

As far as other veggies are concerned, one Florida blogger points out 5 foods try (Yes, I’m not from Florida, but his advice rings true). Okra, Squash, Peppers, Cucumbers and Tomatoes are also noted in my area as some of the easiest to raise. Review his site for additional specifics.

In a nutshell, consider whether you’re goal is to eat or to beautify your yard, or both.

Where Should This Plant Thrive?

Should this plant survive outside or indoors? If you’re planning on reaping the rewards of a summer harvest in the South, now’s the time to act! If you’re planting from seeds, don’t wait a moment longer to get started with the sprouting process. Click here for a basic guide to gardening with seeds.

Some plants flourish in both environments, so you choose where to place them. Last fall, my indoor herb gardened survived most of winter, so this summer I plan to do the same with more herbs in an Earthbox near the front porch.

Something else to consider: Which direction does your house face? Which side receives the most direct sunlight?  Make note and plan accordingly.

About 4 years ago, I cultivated a shade garden on the side of our house. The dense tree coverage encouraged such a peaceful environment. With a book in hand and a hammock to boot, nothing felt more satisfying than completing my first gardening project.

Don’t ignore the side of your house. It may be teething with potential.

If you would like to try container gardening, (or raised beds, because I highly recommend both) EarthBox containers allow for hydroponics, yielding nothing but healthy produce and flowers. Here’s a list of why container gardening has proven efficient and effective. If you’re searching for easy gardening ideas, this would be it.

What Does Your Plant Need to Live?

When you’re choosing a plant (or several) at the store, read the tags! Make sure to purchase a plant with the tag in the soil, so you know how much sunlight and water is needed. Don’t throw away the tags at home; hold onto them. Admittedly, I have forgotten the names of flowers over the years, but the tags make for an exceptional point of reference.

Research what you need before going to the store.

This will help you save money. Don’t walk in blindly; Google your cultivation interests, and read reviews. Someone might suggest a particular type of fertilizer. Another may complain about the lack of nutrients in their generic Miracle-Gro. Whatever the case may be, stay well-informed about products on the market.

There’s more to concern yourself with than just the plants. Make a list of everything you need, then Google what you’re unfamiliar with. Here’s a brief overview of a list I created a few years ago:

Gloves

Shovel

Hoe

Daisy Grubber

Rake

Spade

Trowel (My dad’s) Tiller

Containers (Maybe, maybe not)

Organic Potting Soil

(and/or) Miracle-Gro Gardening Soil for Vegetable and Flowers

Peat Moss

Organic Mushroom Compost

Fertilizer 8-8-8

Dolomite

“Garden Swag” (Wind chimes, turtle and bird statutes, fairies, etc.)

Plan for the Worst Case Scenario

Take a look around your yard and safeguard against groundhogs, squirrels, rabbits and other vermins. Check online for a list of pests which could potentially invade your space. Keep up with the daily weather to stay informed.

Imagine any situation which could cause your plants harm and bookmark solutions on your desktop or Pinterest as a credible source.

Make sure you’re reading reliable information from a source in your area. Tennessee Home and Farm remains my favorite magazine, but even farmers in your local community can offer priceless advice and guidance.

This is merely a hasty guide to common sense gardening. Do you have any tips to share with other readers? Feel free to post below.

Up next is pictures of gardening endeavors through the years. Click here to follow my informative “Labor of Love” board on Pinterest. And thanks for reading.

 

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Before and after photos of the shade garden

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The second year with raised beds, over a dozen different crops
The second year with raised beds, over a dozen different crops

 

Tomatoes
Tomatoes

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Imagine my surprise to see the Autumn Joy's returning behind the Pansies. Brought this box in during the frost. Separated the Pansies and Autumn Joys into containers a few days later.
Imagine my surprise to see the Autumn Joy’s returning behind the Pansies. Brought this box in during the frost. Separated the Pansies and Autumn Joys into containers a few days later.

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Ground cover

If you have any questions, I will try to answer them. 🙂 Or feel free to chime in with your own garden tips…