MT. PLEASANT, Mich -- Summer will be here before you know it, and you know what that means! Time to start planning your garden. While Michigan's temperamental weather can be difficult to deal with in terms of gardening, there are a number of plants that do very well in our climate. Even if you're not a green thumb per se, give these little guys a try, you may be surprised at your results. Let's dive in!
This native plant is extremely hardy and requires very little maintenance, making it a great addition to any garden. They grow on a shrub that usually reaches 4-6', and they bloom all summer in shades of pink, red, and white. They are incredibly fragrant, prefer full sun, and work with all soil types.
Carrots do extremely well all over Michigan as they prefer cool soil and temperatures - so for best results make them a spring or fall crop. They also do better in well-draining, non-compacted soil, so make sure to rake your garden bed well. They do take some time to germinate, but you can speed up the process by planting a row of radishes in between each line of carrots as radishes germinate rather quickly.
This hearty herb is undeterred by all of Michigan's climate mood swings, it can even survive during our harsh winters! Make sure you plant it in well-drained soil and in an area where it can receive full sun. Most varieties are drought resistant - so you don't have to worry about forgetting to water it. It does grow at a rather vigorous pace, so make sure you give it space accordingly.
This pure, spring beauty is a rare find in states other than Michigan, and it is protected here due to its endangered status. If you plan to plant trilliums, make sure you only buy them from a reputable nursery - do not gather them from the roadside! They bloom in early spring and then disappear for the rest of the year, so don't panic when they stop blooming. They prefer shady, moist woodland settings, so be sure to plant them in a secluded area.
Another cool weather crop, lettuce does well in the chillier climate that is typical for Michigan. Greens in general, require very nutrient-rich soil, but they are frost-hardy, so plan to plant them outside in April. They also need plenty of room to stretch out, so make sure to put them in the ground about six inches apart.
This bushy, strong-scented perennial does best when planted in the spring, and it's foliage tends to stay green or grey through all seasons in most regions. They do well in most types of soil, regardless of the quality, however, they do not take kindly to heavy or clay soil, and should be kept away from wet, moist areas. Make sure to plant them 2 to 3 feet apart to give them room to spread out as well.
This Michigan native is very aptly named, if you're looking to bring all the honeybees to your yard, these bright red flowers will certainly do the trick. They bloom in late summer and also come in purple or pink varieties. Plant them in full sun or part shade for best results, and make sure to keep the soil fairly moist.
This often-forgotten herb has numerous edible (it tastes slightly like vanilla) and medicinal uses and gives off a clean scent that lends it to be used in air fresheners. It should be planted in a shady area in moist but well-draining soil that is rich in organic material from things like decomposing leaves and branches. Once the plants are established they require very little care - they will not require fertilizer, and should only be watered during a drought.
Ah, the quintessential summer vegetable...or should we say...fruit? Tomatoes do extremely well in Michigan, however, they are not frost-hardy, so you have to make sure to plant them after the threat of frost passes - middle of May is probably your safest bet. Make sure to plant them in an area that receives full sun, and has well-drained soil. Make sure each plant is at least 2 feet away from their nearest tomato neighbor, and as they grow to make sure to stake them to prevent damage to the plant or the fruit.
This Michigan native is a staple in numerous gardens, and for good reason. It's bright, clear, yellow blooms are tolerant of poor soil and drought. Plus, they spread quickly. They bloom in early summer and they do prefer full sun, although some have had luck with them in part shade.
What are you planning on planting this spring? Comment and let us know! We love hearing from you!
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