Time to Plant Your Summer Garden!
And, Some Easy Vegetables and Flowers to Direct Seed
April 21, 2021
Written By: Patricia Stern

April is sometimes the cruelest month for gardeners.  We wait all winter until the first warm spell excites us into the frenetic spring urge to plant.  In Atlanta, this often happens in late February or March.  The ever-accommodating garden centers are willing accomplices in helping us believe then that it’s time to plant the summer garden.  Old grizzled gardeners (like me) walk around muttering “It’s only March”, or, “It’s only April”, like apocalyptic harbingers of late frost doom.  April weather usually proves us pessimists correct with one or more precipitous weather dives wedged in among the long stretches of 70 degree days.  Heroic measures are taken to provide cold protection during the unpredictable (but inevitable) April frosts and near misses like the one this week, and  the one the first week of April.   (See photo for one eager tomato gardener’s frost protection effort 3 weeks ago).

But now patient friends:  It IS actually time to plant!!  So get any transplants you have grown or purchased into the ground in the next two to three weeks.  For citizen science geeks with soil thermometers (one of my favorite nifty tools) the magic number is soil temps of 55 degrees, which corresponds to air temps about 10 degrees warmer.  And these should be consistent soil temps when the weather, as they say, has settled.  (Although do check the 10-day forecast one last time before you plant for any last cold blasts.  Because, “It’s only April”.  It should be fine though.)

Great summer transplants to plant out in the garden now:
Basil (be careful, basil really resents cool temps)

Easy Vegetables to direct seed now (warm season vegetables):
Snap and Pole Beans
Summer Squash, Yellow or Zucchini
Kale (hurry, it’s best in cool weather)
Chard (ditto the kale warning)

Easy Vegetables to Direct Seed in mid-May throughout June:
Lima Beans
Field Peas (Crowders)
Corn, again
Winter Squashes (pumpkins, butternuts, etc.)

Easy Summer Flowers to direct seed now (warm season flowers)
Tithonia (Mexican Sunflower)

Don’t forget to water those transplants and seeds the first two weeks, daily if possible.  Okay, go have fun!