Melissa Dubravetz
Advertising writer

It's hard to believe we are already at the end of March and the first day of April is tomorrow. The first quarter of the year has really flown by! And while we’ve experienced cooler temperatures this past week and even a frost warning, that warmer weather we had a few weeks ago will soon be back for the season. Before you know it, we will be basking in the warm weather and sunshine, forgetting all about things like snow and frigid thermometer readings.


With the consistently warmer temperatures comes the spring planting season, and this year I’m actually going to try my hand (or should I say green thumb) at gardening. The thought of snipping fresh herbs and picking my own tomatoes and peppers sound deliciously convenient. What’s more, I have gained a little confidence, having enjoyed some recent success with a store-bought cilantro plant that I’ve been nurturing. (OK, so it’s only been a week, but who’s counting?)


If you are like me, you may be wondering about the proper times to plant different produce. Here are some general planting guidelines to follow for spring planting in Ohio, as well as some tips and ideas for renters interested in gardening this year:


St. Patrick’s Day is the traditional time in Ohio for planting early spring vegetable plants such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions and peas, so if you haven’t already done so, plant these items now.


Leafy greens such as kale, lettuce and spinach may be planted as early as April in Ohio and as late as mid-June, but the earlier the better within this time frame. Very late planting may cause these heat-sensitive plants to do poorly.


Tomatoes and peppers are warm season plants and shouldn’t be planted outdoors until the danger of all frost has passed, which is typically around Memorial Day in this part of Ohio. You can get a head start on these by planting the seed in indoor flats about six weeks before you plant them outside. (Sounds like a good project for this weekend.) With tomatoes taking an average of 75 days to produce fruit, planting them indoors increases your chances of having homegrown tomatoes earlier in the summer.


If you are interested in growing your own herbs for cooking, you may want to consider starting a container garden. After deciding what kind of herbs you wish to plant and what kind of containers and soil they need, make sure they are in a location where they will get a lot of sun and get them started now. Some herbs grow better in cool weather though, so pay attention to what the needs of your herbs are.


If lack of space at your rental is a concern, try container gardening for your vegetable plants, too. Container gardening is just that – growing garden plants in containers – and can be a great solution for renters without access to a private area for planting. Most vegetables grow well in containers including spinach, eggplant, beets, radish, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers.


If having a garden in your backyard is impossible and container gardening isn’t your thing, you can also consider getting a spot at a nearby community garden. These types of plots are growing in popularity. Check with city or township officials for information about community gardens where you live.


If gardening is just not your thing, visit your local farmers market this summer and take advantage of the hard work put in by local farmers and gardeners.


Let me know what you think. Do you have any gardening tips to share? Any spectacular successes with container gardens? Any good recipes to share? Any advice on growing vegetables in small spaces? I welcome your suggestions on making a decision, tales from your personal experiences or anything else you want to talk about. Send an e-mail with your name and phone number to renters@thebeaconjournal.com. For additional real estate information, visit homes. ohio.com, the key to hassle-free home hunting.