The general rule of thumb upstate is that Mother's Day is when gardeners can start planting most of their veggies and flowers outdoors. There are a million and one resources online for serious gardeners, but here are just a few of my tips for anyone just getting started:
First of all, if you've just moved to a new place, your best bet is often to just watch what sprouts in the first year – you don't want your new plantings competing with what's already in the ground! Not sure what certain plants are? The Picture This app is an amazing plant identifier tool.
Not sure what to plant? First of all, know your zone, which will help you understand which plants are most likely to thrive in your specific location.
You can also drive around your neighborhood to see what's thriving in local yards/gardens. Or visit a local plant nursery – compared to big-name retailers their plants are generally healthier, and staff can offer great advice on native species and smart choices for your property.
Not everyone realizes it's pretty uncommon for home gardeners to grow things from seed. More commonly you'll want to pick up seedlings – which you can get everywhere from local farm stands to public libraries to generous neighbors. Most local nurseries will also start seedlings for you for a small fee.
Finally, if you see the seedlings and garden-ready flowers you want at a store, don't wait – buy them immediately. We're heading into peak gardening season, and these things sell out QUICKLY around here!
Planting guide courtesy of Hudson Valley Seed Co.