Starting a summer garden

When I had originally started thinking about my garden this year (back in January…) I had thought we were going to be away during peak planting time.  I had put away thoughts of doing a big overflowing garden this year because anything I planted early was going to be dead or overgrown when we got back or I was going to start too late and miss out on weeks of great weather.  And then a global pandemic happened and we are going to be home all summer.

By the way, this isn’t all mine… I wish!

What this means for my garden is that I have had ample time to try doing seed starts in my basement (grow set-up courtesy of my in-laws for Christmas) as well as a well planned trip to the garden store.  Also, with no travel for work this summer, I don’t have to leave my plants in the hands of my well meaning husband.

There are some questions to consider when looking to start your garden:

  • Is it too early?
  • What space do you have?
  • Do you want beautiful, functional, or both?
  • How much time do you have to put into it?

Number one thing about gardening, don’t start too soon!  If you do, you are likely going to lose your plants to frost or a late spring snow or you are going to have to tuck in your plants for many nights in a row to protect them frost.  In April, when it’s gorgeous out for a stretch, I have to fight the urge to head to the garden store and just “get a few things started”.  The rule of thumb around here is usually around Mother’s Day.  If you aren’t in Colorado, consult your local garden store for good start dates!

For us, we have a raised garden bed that handles the majority of our functional plants.  I do it this way because I have the sprinklers tied in there.  This makes those very needy plants much easier to manage.


I also plant some herbs in containers.  I do this so that in case the weather turns bad (read: hail in Colorado) I can move these mostly delicate plants under the cover of our patio.  I also love the smell of them so it’s nice to be able to have them close!

I also do a few containers of flowers.  I like to spread some color around the yard and because I am completely hesitant to plant anything in the ground, I like to just have some containers.  Some of these flowers and plants are also functional so it’s nice to have a variety.  This year, I have marigolds and citronella in my pots to help with the bugs.


As I mentioned before, it’s also about your time!  If you are going to plant things and walk away in Colorado, you might as well put a cactus in your backyard…  I spend anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour every day in the yard and most times, I still lose the pretty flowers to the heat somewhere along the way.


And it’s about enjoying it!  We are creating a space where we want have a glass of wine with friends.  We have little touches that make it space that is relaxing so when we aren’t weeding and watering, we can sit and just breathe.  So make sure it’s not all work!



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