Ozark Gardening

In the Ozarks there is a common misconception that gardening is hard. As with anything worth doing, there’s definitely trial and error, and work. Where hands are not slack, the Ozarks can produce some serious gardens!

One thing I love about Missouri gardening, is that you can plant pretty early or pretty late and still have abundant produce.

We like to get our garlic, onions and potatoes in early. Usually March or April. The weeds don’t don’t grow up too much while it’s still cold, but come May, you better be weeding. We like to harvest our potatoes early. Sometime in June, usually.

We wait until the flowers have faded and the plant begins to die back… then we dig. Our onions we leave until closer to August, and the garlic gets dug September or October. It can overwinter, and many Missourians plant theirs in the Fall and harvest in the Summer.

In April and early May we do lots of cooler weather plants, herbs, spices, beets, radishes, lettuces, cabbages, peas and the like.

We do set out irrigation, but often we don’t need to turn it on until June or July because of the rain.

As the weather really starts warming, we plant the bulk of our vegetables including beans, carrots, cucumbers, squash, melons, tomatoes, peppers, corn.

We also plant flowers in our vegetable garden to attract pollinator and predator bugs. They help keep vegetable eating bugs to a minimum. Our favorites are marigolds, sunflowers, and zinnias.

We often plant companion plants that grow together well, like squash or melons in the corn patch. The squash leaves keeps the weeds down so the corn can flourish, and the squash don’t seem to be deterred by a little shade from the corn.


By midsummer the garden is flourishing. We have usually begun harvesting the cooler weather crops, sometimes we are on second or third rounds of lettuce plantings.

We spend lots of time weeding, observing insects, taste testing produce, running through the sprinkler.

At some point we need to start canning, pickling, fermenting and freezing what we can’t eat!