The growing season can vary greatly from year to year. We recommend not adhering to a schedule based on the calendar month, but rather one based on current conditions in the garden: temperatures and plant “indicators”. Some plants time certain events in their life cycles in relation to the weather and climatic conditions. The study of this is called phenology. Phenological indicator plants are markers of the seasons.
Indicators: Forsythia and early daffodils are in bloom.
- Weed often and early without stepping on planting beds.
- Turn over cover crops.
- Add compost to beds.
- Cut back woody herbs such as oregano, sage and tarragon.
- Start plants from seed.
- Direct seed lettuce, radishes, spinach and swiss chard.
- Plant cold season plants such as leeks and onions, and the others listed on the chart Cool-Season Vegetables for Early Spring Planting.
- Enjoy the first of the sorrel.
Indicators: Dogwoods and peonies are in full bloom, soil temperature is over 60, and night time temperatures are consistently over 50.
- Transplant cold season crops, such as broccoli, started from seed indoors.
- Plant warm season plants such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant as listed at Warm-Season Vegetables for Late Spring Planting.
- Plant out everything else, such as beans and cucumbers.
- Apply fertilizer per specific plant requirements.
- Mulch everything not planted.
Indicators: It’s hot! Roses, daylilies and many other flowers are in bloom.
Plant 2nd Cool Season Crops
Time to plant your second round of cool season crops for your dinner table this fall. Click here for a list of Cool & Warm Season crops.
Spray plants monthly with compost tea or fish-emulsion solution.
Pinch off the 1st flower(s) for more and larger fruits. When the plants flower, fertilize with a fish-emulsion solution and spray the plants with a mild solution of Epsom salts (1 teaspoon to a quart of water). Repeat 2 weeks later. The extra magnesium will encourage fruit set.
- Broccoli & Spinach - Pick the last of the spring planting before it flowers.
- Peas - Enjoy! Introduce some children to the joy of fresh peas from the garden.
- Lettuce - Cut the outer leaves of head lettuces and cut leaf lettuces for repeat harvests.
- Onions - Pull every other one of your onions to use as green onions and young bulbs. The remaining onions will produce larger bulbs with the extra room.
- Leeks - Pull every other one. Young leeks are great on the grill brushed with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
- Carrots - Thin carrots to allow 1 - 2" space between them and enjoy the "gourmet" baby carrots.
- Basil, Beans, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Peppers, Squash, Tomatoes & Zucchini - The first young crops will become available this month. Harvest early and often for the best plant yields.
Supplement rain if necessary so that the garden receives about an inch of water every week. Water in the morning to prevent fungal and slug problems.
Remove any emerging weeds for the largest yields.
Indicators: Foliage of trees and shrubs starts to change color.
- Pinch the top of indeterminate tomato plants to redirect energy from growth to ripening fruit.
- Enjoy the last of the tomatoes.
- Harvest all remaining warm season crops and freeze, dry or can.
- Pull finished plants from beds, weed and mulch
- Plant garlic.
- Harvest and enjoy cold season crops planted during the summer.
- Plant fall cover crops.
- Bring indoors tender potted herbs such as rosemary.
- Use cold frames and row covers to extend the growing season.
- Clean, oil, sharpen and store tools.
- Review and update notes for next year.
Indicators: Snow and ice!
- Fine-tune plan for next year.
- Organize seed and plant orders
- Place orders with catalog and online companies.
- Weed when the ground thaws, but avoid walking on or working wet soil.