GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The weather has been cool but it’s not too early to start your garden, a local expert says.

“Gardening is a year-round activity,” Rick Vuyst, a West Michigan author, radio host and gardening expert of over 45 years, said at the WOOD TV8 Live Desk on Friday morning.

“I generally tell people that I use May 10th as the last frost date here in West Michigan,” Vuyst added.

He said now is a good time to begin planting because there doesn’t appear to be any frost in the forecast in the foreseeable future. Of course, West Michigan weather is good at surprising us, but May 10, Vuyst said, is a good date to build around.

As for what is good to plant right now, you can get to work on containers (see “Hot Trends” below) or even ground planting because we’re not expecting frost.

“What we’re seeing outside is dandelions now finally blooming. That means the soil temperatures have now warmed to that 60-degree-plus threshold and the air temperatures are finally warming up,” Vuyst said.


“I believe the COVID pandemic brought on a lot of new gardeners,” Vuyst said.

Vuyst said people have recognized the benefits of exercise and fresh air in growing in their own backyard. He also referenced the enjoyment of watching wildlife like bees, hummingbirds and monarch butterflies.

He found some gardeners will plant based on what those flowers or plants will attract.

“Being able to utilize your backyard, your deck, your porch area as an extension of the home and outdoor living area, there’s tremendous benefit to us all,” Vuyst said.

With inflation increasing the prices of produce, people have also taken to growing their own fruits and vegetables.

“We always joke and say the tomato plant is the gateway drug to gardening,” Vuyst said with a smile.

He said all it takes is for you to enjoy one BLT or salad with tomatoes that you grew that will make you want to venture out and grow even more on your own.

“Not that difficult to do. If you have a good sunny spot, you pay attention to the soil, you have a water source, you can do it, and that’s what people are finding out,” Vuyst said. “It’s not rocket science.”


Like with any hobby, Vuyst also took the time to chat about trends in the gardening industry for 2022. He said container gardening has increased popularity.

“As opposed to putting plants in the ground, you have control over the environment. You have control over the soil,” Vuyst said.

He added that the sky is the limit with container gardening because you have complete control over variety.

Vuyst added that vegetable and herb gardening are also growing trends.