Spring has sprung. Here's what you need to plant now—and what you should wait to get into the ground.
It's Spring! Well, in some places, anyway. And in those places—like here in Birmingham, Alabama—it's time to dust off your green thumbs and head to the garden. You know that old adage: April showers bring May flowers? Well, even though it's not quite April, there are plenty of things you could be planting RIGHT NOW, and some things you should wait on until it gets a bit warmer.
To that end, we've compiled a quick rundown of the produce that responds best to springtime planting, courtesy of our resident horticulture expert with 30+ years of knowledge when it comes to helping plants thrive. I call him Dad, but you can refer to him as Mr. Horticulture.
Without further ado, here are seven fruits and veggies you need to plant right now, and four that you don't—yet.
If it's still cold where you live, you can consult The Old Farmer's Almanac for a state/city breakdown of when to start planting some of your garden.
READY, SET, PLANT!
Fruit Trees, Blueberries, and Strawberries
Mr. Horticulture suggests getting your fruit trees and berries planted as early in Spring as you can. "Planting early will help your root system get established, which is vital to longevity and fruit output." The sooner you can get them in the ground before the hot, dry summer weather, the better. You want these plants to have an established root system so they won't have to work nearly as hard to stay hydrated in the heat of summer—the earlier they're planted now, the less water you'll need to provide them with later. So if you were considering planting any of these things, now is the time! Oh, and same goes for cabbage or lettuce or leafy greens—you can plant those now, too, if you haven't already.
One more pro tip about blueberries: If you're planting them this spring, remove as many of the excess berries as possible! While they're the endgame, berries take away from the energy your bushes will need to establish those roots. You don't have to pick off all the berries your plant will produce—eat some, of course—but it's better to help those roots first when you're starting out so that your bushes will be healthier and heartier long term.
Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, and Chives
Like the fruits above, these perennial herbs will flourish faster the earlier you get them into the ground. There's likely to be more moisture in your soil during these early spring months as opposed to the dry, arid summertime ones, so get planting.
These are also one-and-done perennials, meaning you can plant them now and not ever have to worry about replanting as long as they're properly cared for. If you're a first-time gardener, Mr. Horticulture suggests starting off with some basic perennial herbs like these since, once established, you'll have an herb garden to enjoy for years to come.
DON'T PLANT: Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash, and Eggplants
While the inclination to get your tomato plants started in the Spring can be strong with many folks (author included), Mr. Horticulture advises against planting any of the four produce-rs just yet. "Planting tomatoes, squash, eggplants, or peppers this early in the season isn't a great idea, because they'll just sit there until the ground warms."
These plants do better the warmer the soil is, and planting them too early also increases the likelihood they'll be harmed or killed by a late frost. So it's a better idea to hold off until it warms up a bit more before considering adding these to your garden.