May 31, 2022 - Things to Do

Local tips and tricks for gardening in Michigan

A burgeoning tomato plant
Behold — a burgeoning tomato plant. Photo: Everett Cook/Axios

I recently asked for gardening tips as a first-time homeowner and friends, you did not disappoint.

  • We got emails about basil, an easy-to-grow complement for tomatoes (reader John D.), and pest-repelling, edible marigolds (Heidi). There were warnings about massive squirrels (Christy Maier) and our persnickety frost zone (Micheline Maynard).

The common thread: An infectious love for gardening. Here are a few more tips and tricks:

🦋 PJ: "Go native! Plant hazelnuts for edible privacy hedges. Plant a serviceberry tree for fantastic color in the fall and delicious berries in the spring. Plant coneflowers and black-eyed Susans for our pollinator friends. Plant parsley in pots as an offering to black swallowtail butterflies."

  • "And if you happen to have a shady spot in your yard where nothing grows, consider creating a mushroom bed!"

🌱 Emily Piper: "Okra is the perfect plant to grow! It grows vertically so it doesn't take much space. The flowers are beautiful. Experimenting with home grown okra is the most fun." 

🍁 Roberta F. King: "I highly recommend growing backyard cannabis. Plants grow easily in a five gallon container in a sunny spot with frequent watering and fertilizing. The plants develop quickly and are interesting to look at and smell great. The harvest doesn't come until October, so patience is required." 

  • "Plus you get SO much weed, which is much easier to gift to friends than zucchini." 

🥒 Christy Maier: "I'd recommend growing some herbs. I find basil, parsley, and cilantro easy to grow, and it is nice to have them right there for cooking."

  • "Some vegetables like squash and cucumber come in a bush variety for pots (as opposed to the vine type which really spread)."

☀️ Micheline Maynard: "Before you plant anything else, determine the kind of sun/shade your garden receives. Sunny in the morning, or afternoon? Sun all day?"

  • "Next, read up on plants that do best in Zone 5 (the agricultural zone for Detroit). That's a big factor: if you plant something that won't thrive in your available Zone 5 light, you'll be wasting your money."

💐 Heidi: "One thing you can plant that will come back every year is pansies. We had a plant that would even come up in the winter."

😄 Kara F.: "My best gardening tip is to go to the farmers market and buy their stuff. No green thumb here!"

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