May 21, 2020
Maine Gardening 101
Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and so, for many in Maine, it’s time to start our summer vegetable gardens. Vegetable gardening is a wonderful activity as it is relaxing, but can also be a fun challenge for those who are looking for one! According to experts, gardening is good for you because it gets you moving, get you a bit dirty (because, apparently, dirt is good for you!), boosts your mood, and connects you with nature- all which can be incredibly therapeutic.
So, how can one best take advantage of the gardening season in Maine? Let’s dive on in!
First, you may be wondering what is actually a good crop to grow here in Maine. This list from The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is one that you should print out and keep in a handy place. The list is a guide to when and how to start certain vegetables. Use it as a jumping off point on what you can grow in your own garden! This PDF from Urban Farmer is also a helpful resource to those wanting to know what grows best in our state.
Is gardening space an issue for you? Many folks live in apartments or in rentals that may not permit landscaping a yard for gardening. Community gardens are a great way to combat this issue! Renting a plot at a community garden not only gives you the space you need, but it may offer opportunities to connect with fellow gardeners and gain tips and advice from them. Many community gardens also offer shared gardening tools and even sometimes provide mulch or fill to top off garden beds, cutting your costs down for those materials! To find out if there is a community garden near you, give your local community center or town/city hall a call and ask for information. You may also be able to find out about a local community garden by visiting local websites and googling.
There’s always a fear of temperature drops in Maine and with the ever-changing weather here, it can be hard to predict when the most tender of crops will be safe from any oppressive coldsnap. Newly planted tender crops like peppers and tomatoes can be covered overnight until they grow a bit bigger and stronger. If you start any seeds indoors, it is best to harden them up before transplanting them to your garden. You can do this by bringing the plants to a sheltered spot outside during the day and bringing them back inside at night. Tomatoes are a great plant to do this for.
Stake any tall plants early to avoid them falling over and weakening. Tall plants, like beans, tomatoes, and maybe some peppers will benefit from having the support structure early! Tomato cages, stakes, and the like can be cheaply purchased and reused year after year.
Whatever you do for your garden, have fun creating and maintaining it! Gardens are a great learning opportunity for all ages, including children. They are also a good tool for individual goal setting and personal growth through a dedicated activity. If you need more advice on gardening, visit The Old Farmer’s Almanac website. You’ll find a number of very helpful tools pertaining to gardening. Happy planting season!