When the cookouts die down and the parades run their course, Memorial Day often becomes a time to get your garden in gear. The holiday that signifies the start of the beach season also means the start of the gardening season, when eager green thumbs get their hands in the dirt.
After the cookouts die down and the parades run their course, the Memorial Day weekend becomes fertile ground for gardeners’ annual summer planting.
The holiday that signifies the start of the beach season also means the start of the gardening season, when eager green thumbs get their hands in the dirt.
“It’s kind of a kickoff for summer planting,” said Ron Simons, owner of R&C Garden Center in Scituate, Mass. “You’ve got a lot of people going to graves, planting all their annuals and starting vegetable gardens.”
In addition to the typical rush of growers looking for geraniums and begonias, nursery owners this year have noticed a spike in people who are using the holiday weekend to start a vegetable garden.
Vegetable seeds and flats are this year’s hot sale, nursery owners said.
“We’re selling a ton of tomato plants, but also things like cucumbers, summer squash, zucchini, beans, corn,” Simon said.
First-time vegetable gardeners should do their research and ask lots of questions, nursery owners said.
Shopping alongside the vegetable gardeners are people looking for the right plant to grace a loved one’s grave, an age-old tradition that usually takes place on Memorial Day.
Dave Baxter, manager of Rockland Garden Center, said shopping for Memorial Day flowers can be emotional for many people.
“We get a lot of elderly people that have to get to the grave on Monday,” Baxter said. “It’s a nice tradition. What will happen when that generation is gone?”
Best choice for graveside planting: Low maintenance begonia or osteospermums.
Best way to start vegetable seeds: Start them indoors in pots or raised beds. Transplant them outside later.
Key to a great garden: Fertilized soil will give you healthy flowers and vegetables. Try pellets that release nutrients every time you water.
Best time to plant: Late afternoon, when the sun is not so hot and the wind has calmed down. This also gives the new plants overnight to acclimate.
Top sellers: Geraniums, begonia, tomato plants
Prices to expect: $1.50 to $3 for a flat of six plants flat of basic annuals, such as marigolds, petunias or snap dragons. $4 to $13 for a pot of geraniums, the most popular Memorial Day plant.
- Look for vegetable or flower plants with healthy green leaves.
- Choose flats or pots with room for strong root growth
- Don’t judge a plant by the blossoms. Some flower later.
- Don’t hesitate to ask someone on the floor about plant varieties or techniques.
Source: Hanna Nessralla, owner of Penniman Hill Farm, Hingham, Mass.
The Patriot Ledger