Summer garden

Tomatoes are a great addition to a summer garden.

Thinking about starting a garden? Late April through early May is a great time to plant warm-season vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. Don’t let mother nature trick you into planting too early. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Select a sunny spot. Most vegetables need 6-8 hours of full sun a day.
  • Start small. Managing all those plants can get discouraging.
  • Place the garden near a water source. Gardens need at least 1 inch of water per week.
  • Don’t plant in a wet spot. If location, access, or soil is an issue, consider container gardening instead.
  • Troubleshoot early. Weeds, insects, and disease are best managed if you can hand pick and destroy them early.
  • Have fun.

NC Cooperative Extension offers great resources to help gardeners decide what, how much, and when to grow. Check out the family-friendly Vegetable Planting Guide at ; and the fun-to-make-at-home vegetable planting wheel at

Early Bird Tip: If you are eager to plant something before the last frost, make sure you select a cool-season crop like lettuce, carrots or broccoli.

Katy Shook is the area horticulture agent.