by Regan Carney
- This month - it's time to plant summer gardens on the Gulf Coast and Regan shares some time-tested tips for growing a good crop of veggies in your home garden.
The seeds I ordered from an heirloom seeds specialty catalog called Seeds of Change and the plants I buy from either a feed store up in the country, from a reputable plant store, or from one of the farmer’s markets. Occasionally, I will buy exotic seedlings from a catalog. Be sure that the seeds you purchase are fresh and appropriate for our climate.
Most of the cool weather plants should have gone into the ground by now, such as my English peas. If you get to it in the first two weeks of the month you can still plant: carrots, lettuce, spinach, chard, mustard, turnips and snap bush beans.
Good Friday, which falls on April 3rd this year, is traditionally planting day in this area. Usually there are no more freezes after that date. I have been witness to some very lively debates about planting tomatoes before Good Friday. I have planted early and usually had not much success. But the one time that it stayed warm we got a great crop!
I found a really good list of the tomatoes that will grow well in our climate on the Mobile Botanical Gardens website. Be sure to obtain fusarium wilt resistant varieties as this is a common plant disease here and a heart breaker. Tomatoes are really worth growing yourself. The flavor of a warm, peak ripe tomato is exquisite and doubly so if you grew it!
In the later part of the month, the ground will be warming. You can begin to plant the mid-summer plants which include: watermelon, peanuts, muskmelon, corn, okra, southern peas, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, some beans, and peppers.
I have found that growing herbs, flowers, and vegetables in the ground, raised bed or container is possibly the best stress reliever available. It is also a fantastic teaching tool for children, if you have them. So, if you are going to plant a garden, I wish you luck, fertile soil, lots of garden worms and ladybugs, rain when you need it and plenty of sun.
For more home gardening information, go to msucares.com.