Whether you're new to gardening or have a green thumb, summer is the perfect season to start your own garden. Now is the time to start thinking of all the possibilities the warm weather brings!
"The first step to start your summer garden is considering what plants make you happy and what types of things you'll use or enjoy most throughout the season," says Emily Murphy, author of Pass the Pistil blog and "Grow What You Love" book and podcast. "In gardening, as in life, I say, grow what you love - find the things that make you happy and grow them."
If you're not sure where to start, consider these ideas to inspire your summer garden.
• Garden like a chef: From fresh herbs like sage and basil to easy-to-grow kitchen staples like carrots and tomatoes, there's nothing like growing your own food. With an edible garden, the possibilities are endless to take you from garden to table throughout the season.
"Incorporating seasonal foods and herbs into your summer cooking adds fresh, new flavors," says Murphy. "Try planting carrots, kale, tomatoes, chard, blueberries, beets or summer squash, as they are star ingredients in many delicious summer dishes."
Vegetables like lettuces, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and asparagus are all great seasonal options. Some are even companion plants, so planting them near one another can increase plant health, optimize soil, prevent weeds and more. However, these veggies are "thirstier" than others, so make sure you have the proper watering tools for them to grow successfully.
• Plant for visual beauty: If you're more interested in looking at your garden than eating it, consider planting your favorite colors. Choose flowers that look gorgeous outdoors and indoors as vibrant and colorful bouquets. Cosmos are a great seasonal choice and range in colors from shades of white, yellow and tangerine to pink and magenta. Another bountiful option is the Clematis, which bloom all summer long in shades of lavender, pink and purple.
If you're looking for shade or a little privacy for your yard, Hollyhocks are another great option, as they grow up to six feet tall.
Flowers tend to spread quickly, so using a sprinkler to water them makes gardening a lot easier.
• Attract pollinators: There are many options that will bring beautiful pollinators to your garden as well. Honeysuckles are a magnet for butterflies, hummingbirds and bees because of their sweet scent. Easy to grow, Honeysuckles simply require full sun and generous watering. Milkweed and nectar-rich flowers such as Asters are other great options that attract monarch butterflies.
To attract pollinators all season long, make sure your hose is up for the job. Choose something that is durable and will hold up season after season.
No matter what your gardening goals are this season, if you choose to plant what you love, you can't go wrong.