2023 Gardening Season Is Here


As the days get longer and temperatures rise, it’s time for local gardeners to welcome in the 2023 gardening season.  This is an exciting time of year as you plan out your garden beds and decide what plant varieties you want to try this year, including varieties native to Cape Ann.  

Gardening is a worthwhile endeavor that’s creative and enjoyable, and it can be a form of exercise and relief from the daily grind.  Gardens also provide ample opportunity to experiment, as individuals can produce everything from vegetables to bountiful blooms.  Recently, there’s been a growing emphasis on eco-friendly gardening that aims to reduce reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides to protect the planet. One easy way to do this is to rely on plant species native to Cape Ann and New England.

So, as veteran gardeners will tell you, this is the time to prepare for victory this summer in your outdoor oasis, whether your domain is a simple container garden or an indulgent backyard expanse.

Start Early 

Starting early is the best way to ensure your garden is ready for spring planting.  Now is the perfect time to review last year’s notes and determine which plants did well and which didn’t so great so that you can adjust accordingly.  It’s also important at this stage to check all of your existing tools and equipment, like shovels, rakes, pruners, etc., to make sure they’re in good condition before getting into heavy use during the warmer months.  And if any need replacing or upgrading, now is a good time, since stores tend not to have their shelves stocked yet with new items come spring.

Soil Prep 

Another critical step in preparing your garden for the upcoming season is ensuring good-quality soil.  Colleen Malik, the owner of Chapman’s Greenhouse in Beverly Farms, says gardeners should prepare their planting area with rich compost and topsoil.  Her advice?  “Dig a one-million-dollar hole for a one-dollar plant.”  

Good prep also means testing your soil’s pH levels and adding amendments to bring them back into balance if needed. Depending on what plants you’re growing, adding compost or fertilizer may also be necessary, depending on their specific needs. 

If you’re unsure about any of this, plenty of resources available online and in stores can help walk you through the process. 

Choose the Right Plants

Finally, choose wisely which plants will occupy your garden beds this year!  Take some time to research the individual needs of each plant so that they’re planted in the right areas and are given the right amount of sunlight and water.  If you’re unsure, plenty of gardening books available at your local library or bookstore can advise you on which plants would work best for your particular climate and soil conditions. 

Embrace Native Species

Though it’s easy to succumb to the temptation of exotic plants, avid gardeners and eco-conscious planters recognize the significance of native plants.  The National Wildlife Federation says native plants grow in habitats without human introduction or intervention.  Native plants have formed symbiotic relationships with local wildlife over thousands of years, which the NWF notes make them the most sustainable options.  Native plants help the environment and thrive with little supplemental watering or chemical nutrients.

It’s important to remember that native varieties may look less cultivated than more exotic blooms and foliage designed to sell for their unique appearances.  Wildflowers and native grasses may be the types of native plants found in abundance, which may grow up and out quickly. 

Spring and summer present ideal growing conditions for many plants, making these seasons an ideal time to tend to lawns and gardens.  With some planning and preparation, Cape Ann gardeners can look forward to planting beautiful blooms, delicious vegetables, and other amazing plant varieties all year round. 

So, get ready for an exciting 2023 gardening season!