Country Mornings with Jonathan & Ayla

Country Mornings with Jonathan & Ayla

Country Mornings with Jonathan & Ayla

Read about how I started my garden!

This article is for a beginner gardener only! This is my first spring/summer planting and growing seeds so there’s a lot of things I’m learning about gardening that I want to pass on to you. I’m definitely not an expert, but I’ve had some help from one! Our neighbor, David, has been extremely helpful at helping us plant our first garden, and he’s been doing it for over 50 years.

When Is The Best Time To Plant In Massachusetts?

The best time to plant a garden in Massachusetts depends on the type of plants you want to grow. Massachusetts experiences cold winters and warm summers. Here are some general guidelines for planting in the the Northeast part of the country.

Guidance For Cool-Season Crops

Many vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, peas, and carrots, thrive in cooler temperatures. These are known as cool-season crops, and can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked in early spring. This would be typically around mid to late April. These crops can also be planted in late summer or early fall for a second harvest before the frost.

In our garden, we planted romaine lettuce, spinach, and green beans. The romaine lettuce and spinach came up in no time, and went very quickly. I think in our next garden, we will have to have a specific raised bed just for spinach, romaine and kale.

Ayla Brown's Garden

My husband and I started a garden this year. We can’t wait to eat all of the food.

Guidance On Warm-Season Crops

Plants like tomatoes, peppers, beans, corn, and cucumbers require warmer soil and air temperatures to grow successfully. These are known as warm-season crops and should be planted after the threat of frost has passed. This would be typically around mid to late May in Massachusetts. You can start seeds indoors several weeks earlier and transplant them outdoors when the weather is favorable.

If you don’t want to start from a seed, you can go to any nursery, home improvement store such as Lowe’s or Home depot, or even Ocean State Job Lot. All of these stores have plants that have already grown from seeds. All you have to do it take them home and plant them in your garden!

We did this with all of the plants we had in our garden. We bought six tomato plants, many pepper plants including bell peppers, red peppers, jalapeño peppers, and sweet peppers.  The peppers and tomatoes should start really producing edible food in August.

Guidance On Perennials and Bulbs

Perennial flowers, shrubs, and bulbs have specific planting times as well. The optimal time for planting perennials and bulbs depends on their specific requirements. Generally, spring-blooming bulbs like tulips and daffodils should be planted in the fall, while perennials can be planted in either spring or fall, allowing them enough time to establish their root systems before extreme weather.

Important Things To Remember For Beginner Gardeners

  • Remember to consider the specific planting instructions provided on seed packets or plant labels, as different plants may have specific requirements for optimal growth. Additionally, it’s essential to monitor weather conditions and adjust your planting schedule accordingly.
  • It’s also good to remind yourself, that it’s easier to buy the plants that are already partially grown at stores. It will take a lot longer to grow from seeds. I tried planting from seeds, and many of the seeds died, or never matured enough to plant in my garden (like those tomato seeds below).
tomato seeds in a bucket

We tried starting these tomato plants from seeds. They didn’t grow very well. That’s why I suggest buying them partially grown form a nursery.

  • Plant a raised garden so the bunnies don’t get to your plants! We built a raised bed for this reason, and so far, so good. If you don’t have a raised garden, it might be worth putting some sort of netting or protective element over it so animals don’t get to your precious plants.
  • Remember to provide adequate water, sunlight, and care for your plants, and embrace the joy of watching your garden thrive.

Pictures Of Our Hand-Built Garden

Major props to my husband, Rob, for building our garden from scratch! He went to Home Depot, bought all of the wood, and somehow built a raised garden bed from scratch. I can’t even begin to tell you how he did it, but I took some pictures to show you.


Here’s The Easiest Things To Plant In MA If You’re A Beginner Gardener

Whether you have a sprawling backyard or a small balcony, starting a garden can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. If you’re a beginner gardener in Massachusetts, here are some of the easiest plants to grow in your garden.

  • Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are a staple in many gardens and for good reason. They are relatively easy to grow, and the taste of homegrown tomatoes is unbeatable. Massachusetts’ warm summers provide the ideal conditions for tomato plants. Consider “determinate” varieties like ‘Early Girl’ or ‘Celebrity’ that are compact and produce a bountiful harvest in a shorter timeframe.

    tomato vine

    So far, these have been very easy to grow! We have 6 plants in our garden.

  • Herbs

    Herbs are a fantastic addition to any garden and are forgiving for beginners. Whether you have a sunny windowsill or a small plot of land, you can grow a variety of herbs like basil, thyme, rosemary, and mint. They are versatile, low-maintenance, and can be used in cooking, teas, or even as natural insect repellents. We have a random basil plant on our front porch, but you can have herbs grow in a pot, or outside in a garden. Your choice!

    basil plant on porch

    We didn’t do an herb garden per se, but we do have one basil plant outside on our porch in case we feel motivated to make a pesto dish or something.

  • Zinnias

    Zinnias are vibrant, cheerful flowers that thrive in Massachusetts’ sunny summers. They are incredibly easy to grow from seeds, making them perfect for beginners. These hardy annuals come in a range of colors and attract pollinators, adding beauty and life to your garden.

    How to Grow Zinnias: The Complete Zinnia Flower Guide

    Zinnias are a long-lasting annual flower that pollinators adore! Here's the guide on how to plant, grow, and care for Zinnia Flowers from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

  • Lettuce and Greens

    Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale are great options for beginner gardeners in Massachusetts. They grow quickly and can be harvested multiple times throughout the growing season. Start with loose-leaf varieties that are more forgiving and require less maintenance than head lettuce.

    Ayla Brown romaine lettuce

    This was the last of the romaine! It’s given us a ton of salads in the house, that’s for sure!

  • Sunflowers

    Sunflowers are a classic addition to any garden, and their tall, bright blooms are a sight to behold. These easy-to-grow annuals thrive in Massachusetts’ sunny weather and well-drained soil. Choose from a variety of sizes and colors, and watch these stunning flowers add a touch of beauty and whimsy to your garden.

    woman smelling sunflower

    I have never planted sunflowers, but I think they are so beautiful. And they are easy to grow!

  • Daylilies

    Daylilies are hardy perennials that require minimal care and can tolerate a range of growing conditions. They come in various colors and bloom abundantly during the summer months. These resilient flowers can withstand Massachusetts’ fluctuating temperatures and are perfect for adding pops of color to borders or flower beds.

    How to Grow Daylilies: The Complete Daylily Flower Guide

    The daylily is an amazingly low-maintenance perennial. It's virtually disease- and pest-free, drought-resistant, and not picky about soil. Here's how to plant and care for daylilies.

  • Peppers

    If you’re a fan of spicy flavors, consider growing peppers in your Massachusetts garden. Bell peppers, jalapenos, and chili peppers are all suitable choices. They thrive in warm weather and can be grown in containers or garden beds. Start with transplants to ensure a successful harvest.

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