Are you planting a garden this spring? Getting your hands dirty in a garden bed is one of the greatest ways to reduce stress and spend time enjoying the outdoors. Here in Central Indiana, the growing season has begun, but if you haven’t even planted a single vegetable or flower yet, no worries. Whether you are a complete beginner or you were born with a green thumb, we have some helpful tips for your gardening adventures this season!

Let’s get garden planting!

Darlene Trusty, president of the Hancock County Master Gardener’s Association, gave us some tips on what to put in the ground now that spring is in full bloom. Trusty recommends only planting flowers that can stand cooler temperatures, such as pansies, violas and hellebores. Save planting others that need warmer soil for summer. Trees, shrubs and grasses can also be planted. She recommends planting vegetable seeds that like cool weather, such as lettuces, peas, spinach, cabbage and radishes. Again, some vegetables such as corn and tomatoes may need warmer soil for germination, so make sure to follow the instructions on the seed packets.

Most seed packets will tell you to plant a few weeks before or after the last frost date, which refers to the average final spring frost in your zone. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Greenfield’s date of the last frost is estimated to be April 24. Therefore, you can look at your seed packets and then consult your calendar to see which dates are best for the various vegetables or flowers you would like to grow this year. It takes some planning, but when the seeds you plant actually germinate and you have fresh garden veggies or a whole bouquet of perennials to admire, it is worth the patience and hard work.

What about common garden weeds?

If you are concerned with weeds in your garden patch, the most tried and true method for prevention and removal is by hand. The more often you get outside and weed, the more likely you are to catch something before it grows or spreads within your garden bed. As far as your lawn is concerned, Trusty stresses following the label and directions before using an herbicide. Furthermore, any herbicide could kill grass seed, so if you are planning to reseed your lawn you may want to skip the treatment altogether. As far as a more organic approach goes, Trusty says to “allow your lawn to grow over three inches tall before cutting. Taller grass will help keep the wind-blown seeds from germinating.”

What if you don’t know where to start?

Gardening can be an incredibly fun and rewarding hobby. Sometimes, however, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the size of your lawn or the sheer amount of landscaping work that needs to be done. If you don’t know where to start, then try just one garden patch at a time. You can choose something on the side of your house, in the front or even in the back. Maybe even choose a spot near a window you frequently gaze out of or next to a porch swing that you enjoy. If you have the chance to enjoy your garden, it will ignite in you a passion for creating even more beauty with plants.

Wherever you choose, make sure that you understand how much sun the area receives. This will impact which plants will thrive in this particular location. Perennials may be an easy place to start since they come back year after year and bring joy to butterflies, birds and other critters. If deer or rabbits are a problem, you can choose plants that don’t attract them so you don’t have to worry about your garden becoming breakfast. You can also plant flowers that bloom at different times, so there is always something beautiful to look at.

Before you get your hands dirty this year, take some time to do some planning. Do you want a perennial garden or annual garden or a mixture? Do you want something in the shade or sun? Do you want vegetables? Take a stroll around Greenfield’s gardens and green spaces, like the one by Riley Home for some inspiration. Whatever you do, though, don’t forget to enjoy all of the beautiful results of your hard work!