5 Steps for Growing this Summer’s Garden

Daffodils in a jar with greenery

Staying home isn’t all bad. While I’m sure it will only get harder as the weather gets warmer, for me and Cody, isolating ourselves means more conversation, more music, more cooking and more time to think about how our “gardens” will look this year.

For now, I only plant in containers; I don’t want to change our rented space in any way that would leave it worse off when we move out. I also don’t love weeding and containers make managing weeds a million times easier. The last two summers my planting strategy had been haphazard at best. I stop at the nursery on the way home from work, put what looks nice in my cart, and call it a day.

There’s nothing wrong with that strategy. I actually really loved how the planters on our porch turned out last summer, so I’ll probably take a similar approach to them this year. However, my vegetables have been less than stellar the last few summers and this year there’s a new space I want to fill with blooms.

Last Saturday was Buffalo’s first truly nice afternoon. We spent hours outside, not really planning to get much done, just glad to be out of the house. I started going at a patch of weeds, vines and small trees that had slowly expanded over the last couple of years. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. By Sunday afternoon I was left with a blank slate between our garage and the neighbor’s fence.

Empty space between garage and fence

I hadn’t realized what an eyesore the corner had become until it was gone. Now comes the fun part: what’s the best way to fill this space? I’ve been searching Instagram, gardening blogs and Google images for inspiration. My biggest challenge is that the space gets literally zero direct sun. I tracked it every hour just to be sure. Nada.

My goal is to create a space that we can set up lawn chairs in and enjoy after work. I want to use what was until very recently an ugly corner and make it a welcoming space where I can spend an hour reading or writing with a cup of tea or cold drink.

Hand drawn mockup of new garden

It’s going to take some time to create that corner. Lucky for summer me, spring me has a lot of time on her hands. Here’s what’s on my container garden to do list:

  1. Order seeds. With extra time on my hands, I’m going to try to start some what I would normally buy from a nursery. Earlier this week, I ordered cucumber, spinach, cherry tomato, cilantro and lettuce seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds. I also bought nasturtium and mint seeds from Renee’s Garden.
  2. Plant seeds. Buffalo’s last frost date is at the beginning of May, so we’re just about a month away from planting outside. For most veggies, this is the perfect time to start seeds inside. Hopefully, the seeds I ordered will arrive this week or next so I can get them in soil.
  3. Buy materials. I love the containers on our front porch, so I’ll get a couple more of those for the new spot. It will also need some stakes and a few 2×8 boards to wrap some of the more utilitarian containers I’m planning to use.
  4. Build. Even though it’s too early to put plants in the ground, I want to lay out containers and see how everything will look. That way I can edge the new space, add the wood and put up wire fencing before seedlings go in.
  5. Plant! I’ll still go to the nursery for most of my flowers when it’s warm enough to plant outside. There will be two planters in the new space, which will need to be shade-friendly. Two more planters will go on the front steps, which get a lot more sun. I’ll also plant the vegetables and herbs I started inside.

Fingers crossed that the extra work now will pay off this summer. I can’t wait to have a cozy space to enjoy time outside!

3 thoughts on “5 Steps for Growing this Summer’s Garden”

  1. Love that you are in a planting state of mind. Keep in mind that every year we have to thin out plants,(flowers), and when we separate them we either throw them out or give them to friends. You can any you want, if we grow it. And we have some that do best in shade, others in sun.

    Like

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