Starting a Garden in Wisconsin
Spring in Wisconsin can be a tease. The snow melts, the sun shines and the world starts to grow color again. But wait, another snowfall hits. You can be out raking the yard one day and shoveling snow the next. It can be frustrating and quite disheartening to see winter creep back in during the spring season. It can also lead to confusion about when to start outdoor plants. Let’s get down to the dirt.
To start, keep in mind that the last frost date in southern Wisconsin is estimated May 15th. As you travel north that date gets pushed back, in Ashland the date is estimated to be June 18th.
If you are wanting to get a head start on your seedlings, you can go the indoor route. You’ll need soil, potting containers, seeds, and a warm, sunny area. If starting plants indoors, you can plant them 6-8 weeks before the last frost. They will need adequate moisture, light and care. Once the frost is over you can then transplant your already growing treasures to their permanent home outside.
Seed to Soil or Plant to Soil
Whether you don’t have the time, space or desire to start your plants indoors you will have to be patient as you wait for the frost season to end. While you wait you can prep for planting. Clean up the area you wish to plant in. Rake up those leaves you didn’t get to last fall, and give the ground a clean slate. Keep your eye on the sun. Make sure the areas you choose to plant in are going to have the proper amount of sunlight. Whether you will be planting seeds or already growing plants from a greenhouse, make sure you wait until the last frost is over.
Spring is a good time to transplant perennials. Perennials take to transplantation best when the weather is cool and wet. The tricky part here is you shouldn’t transplant while the plant is in bloom. So you need to move it before-if the ground has thawed enough. Or wait for the bloom to end, however the weather may be too dry and warm by that point.
One thing we love about Wisconsin are all the woodsy areas and creatures that go with it. However, these critters can be quite a pain when trying to grow gardens! Until you’ve planted and experimented you won’t really know which critters you need to look out for and what plants they really like to devour! So step one is figure out what animals you’ll be trying to control. Step two, find a humane way to keep your garden and the critter safe. Try chicken wire or a fenced in garden. Collect the fur from your beloved pets and scatter it around the garden. There are plenty of natural/non-toxic/humane ways to keep your garden free from critters. Please, do your research and choose wisely!
Gardens can be a great way to make a yard beautiful, grow food for the table and get us outdoors! Starting a garden in Wisconsin can be great fun for the whole family, but it takes a little planning! Watch the frost and happy planting!