Gardening is a wonderful hobby for people of all ages. Whether you grow flowers or vegetables, there is nothing quite like the feeling of walking through a beautiful garden that you created all on your own. Even though the East Lansing, Michigan area experiences cold winters, it is still a fantastic place for gardening as long as you follow a few basic tips.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) publishes a Hardiness Zone map that breaks the country down into specific growing zones. These zones are used to determine which plants grow well in a specific area. The area around East Lansing generally falls into one of two growing zones. Some areas are in Zone 5 while others are in Zone 6. You can look up your specific growing zone by entering your ZIP Code into the interactive map on the USDA website. These zones are determined by the average annual extreme minimum temperature in the area. In the case of East Lansing, that falls anywhere between -10 and -20°F.
What that means is that you need to choose plants that grow well in Zone 5 or Zone 6, depending on your specific location. You also need to plant your garden at the right time of the year. Most experts recommend starting your seeds indoors sometime in February. You should then move your seedlings outside sometime around April 15. Although you can take them outdoors sooner, there is still a significant risk of frost earlier in the year. By waiting until the middle of April, you can minimize the risk of losing your plants to frost.
If you do decide to plant them outdoors earlier in the year, you need to keep a close eye on the weather report. If it looks like the temperature is going to drop below freezing, you will need to cover your plants to help protect them.
Granted, not all vegetables are alike in terms of how they grow and when they should be planted. You should read the instructions for the specific types of vegetables that you are planning on growing to make sure that you plant them at the proper time.
The same goes for flowers. Whether you are using bedding plants are growing them from seed, make sure to look up the specific plants that you plan on growing in your garden for more detailed instructions on how to plant them.
As long as you follow these gardening tips, you should be able to create a beautiful garden outside your East Lansing, Michigan home.