It’s Spring! Middle Tennessee Gardening Tips You Can Use Now

For many of us, the hint of spring is downright invigorating. Perhaps you’ve just attended the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show this past weekend for some inspiration. After all, it’s this time of year we start envisioning our landscape designs in Technicolor. We can imagine the vegetable gardens, the flower gardens, and the bountiful fresh produce we’ll be sharing at the many barbecues with family and friends this summer. There’s nothing like the flavor of a salad picked right from your garden, accented with fresh cucumbers and your own homegrown herbs.

If you are a Middle Tennessee resident new to gardening and you’re ready to throw yourself into it this year as your newfound hobby, this blog is for you. The first thing you need to know is the “hardiness zone” for your geographic region. In other words, your hardiness zone determines which plants, flowers and trees will flourish where you live, based on your climate and level of frost. Middle Tennessee can range from a Zone 6a to a Zone 7b, depending on the city nearest you. To know for sure, please check this handy link:

http://www.plantmaps.com/list-of-hardiness-zones-for-tennessee-cities.php

To start out, you will want to plant some seedlings indoors. There are many places to order seeds online, but here’s a clickable list for you:

When readying your indoor seedlings, you need to look on the back of each seed packet to factor in the germination period for each type of seed, to build out your gardening calendar. As an example, okra seeds take two weeks to sprout, so you’d want to plant them on April 1st indoors if you were planning to transplant them into the outside ground on April 15th.  Middle Tennessee Zones 6 and 7 have final frost dates ranging from March 30th to April 30th. Many gardeners in our region split the difference, using April 15th as their guide for planting their seedlings outside.

Fruits that grow well in our area include apples, pears, peaches, cherries, figs, and blueberries. Other choices you might want to consider for your garden include lettuce (practically fool-proof if you’re new to gardening), tomatoes, strawberries, green beans, okra, cucumbers, leeks, parsnips, eggplant, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, peas, corn, radishes, asparagus, blackberries, muscadine grapes, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash, sweet peppers, hot peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots. On Page 2 of this University of Tennessee “Guide to Warm Season Garden Vegetables,” you’ll find a printable graph identifying planting dates: https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP291-P.pdf

The Old Farmer’s Almanac also has a printable calendar here: http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/TN/Nashville

When Fall approaches, many of us aren’t quite ready to give up our wonderful, homegrown food, so long before, it’s a great idea to start preparing for a hoop house garden. While October is the month we see our first frost, ranging from October 7th to the 19th, depending on your zone, you can extend your growing season with hoop house gardens, which are essentially mini-greenhouses you create with a garden bed covered in PVC pipe hoops shrouded in plastic. For information on creating your own hoop house garden, check out this gardener’s advice: http://thehomesteadinghippy.com/fall-gardening-make-a-hoop-house-to-extend-your-growing-season/

If you have great tips on gardening you’re willing to share, please send them to us for a future blog here: https://roscoebrown.com/contact. If you need Roscoe Brown techs to get your underground sprinkler system ready for spring, or for other HVAC or plumbing needs, just call us at 1-888-MY-ROSCOE.