Monthly Gardening Plan!

Gardening plans are an important part of maintaining a successful garden. Just throwing some seed on the ground is not a good way to have a bountiful harvest. Plans on location of vegetables and flowers are necessary to ensure healthy plants.

Rotation of vegetables helps prevent disease and plans ensure that companion plants are placed together and those that inhibit growth will not. \

Plans also help remind gardeners of activities that must be performed all through the year to keep your garden bountiful.

The following is a monthly plant for those gardeners in colder climates. Southern gardeners may or may not experience some of the conditions that are listed in this plan.

January

  • Order seed catalogs or make a list of those you want to see online. Keep warm and take a look at all the seeds you might like to purchase.
  • Use graph paper and draw out the dimensions of your gardens.
  • Draw in what plants you have returning in spring.
  • If you made a detailed journal of gardening last year, take a look at the journal and devise ways of doing thing better this year.
  • Keep birds and other wild life fed by using bird and squirrel feeders.

February

  • Start ordering from the catalogs and websites you have been browsing.
  • Head out to the tool shed and inspect, sharpen or repair garden tools. Get rid of tools that might be broken or cannot be repaired and look for new.
  • If you have a greenhouse, start purchasing or cleaning what you need to start your seeds.
  • Continue planning your garden on graph paper after all your seeds have come in.

March

  • Once the thaw begins, check on the compost pile and start turning it. If you don’t have a compost pile, start one.
  • Once thawed, take soil samples and perform them or send them in to your Extension office.
  • Once snow is gone, clean the yard and get rid of any winter debris.
  • Rake the lawn to get rid of thatch that has built up over the winter.
  • Watch your spring flowers, shrubs and bulbs bloom.
  • Start seeds for early cool crops.
  • Watch for frost at night and be ready with plant coverings.
  • Start to prepare any new garden beds and once everything unfreezes, by amending old beds with compost and any other desired additives.

April

  • Deadhead spring flowers and shrubs and if you dig up your spring bulbs every year, now is the time to do it and store them.
  • If you don’t dig them up, braid the browning foliage, secure with clips or rubber bands so they do not look so unruly (never cut off foliage because letting it dry is what gives the bulb energy to bloom next year).
  • If you have an irrigation system, test it to make sure it is top condition for summer.
  • Use organic fertilizer to fertilize your lawn.
  • Put your cool weather crops like carrots, beets, lettuce, chard and green onions, but watch for frost and protect.
  • Start seeds of tomatoes and peppers and other summer vegetables.
  • Maintain your compost pile.
  • Watch for weeds to emerge from the ground and pluck them out as soon as possible.
  • Prune dead wood from any perennials.
  • If you overwintered your garlic crop, now is a good time to remove mulch and put down some compost around the roots.

May

  • Harvest spring crops when they are ready and watch for any that may bolt when temperatures get warmer.
  • Inspect the garden for pests at least 2 times a week, if not more.
  • Develop a good watering plan and keep weeding.
  • Start hardening off any transplants going in at the end of the month. This allows them to get used to being outside before you plant them.
  • Plant bulbs of dahlias and gladiolas.
  • Prune all spring flowering shrubs like lilac, azalea and rhododendron. Prune back existing roses and other annuals.
  • If you have any landscape projects like adding paths, sidewalks and such, now is the time to do it.
  • Wait until the end of the month to plant everything in the garden (both direct seeding and transplants from your greenhouse or those started inside.

June

  • Keep harvesting crops planted in spring.
  • Make sure all plants are in the ground by seed or by transplant.
  • Lay mulch and keep the gardens weeded.
  • Water when necessary.
  • Keep an eye out for pests and irradiate them as soon as possible using organic methods.
  • Keep an eye out for any disease and treat with organic methods.
  • Harvest your overwintered garlic when foliage dries. Braid the stems and hang to cure.
  • Prune tomatoes to keep them neat and tidy.
  • Weed weekly.
  • Keep turning and adding to the compost pile. Make sure to water it too if it is dry.
  • Replace any spring crops with those that are harvested late summer and fall.

July

  • Watch water and supplement when you must.
  • Water container gardens every day to twice a day in dry weather.
  • Keep weeding the garden and maintaining the compost pile.
  • Divide irises.
  • Plant fall harvest crops like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower.
  • Keep watching for infestations and diseases. Powdery mildew usually shows up in July.
  • Harvest berries if you grow them.
  • Start preserving your harvest by canning, freezing and making jam.
  • Share your bounty with your friends and neighbors.

August

  • Continue maintenance of the gardens and compost.
  • Keep harvesting and preserving.
  • Direct seed cold crops.
  • Discontinue watering dry beans and onions. This will allow them to start yellowing and dying down so you can harvest and cure.
  • Harvest and cure garlic that was planted in spring.

September

  • Be ready for frost again.
  • Start cleaning up any plants that have expired for the year and lay a couple inches of compost over the sight so that it overwinters.
  • Bring in houseplants that were out for the summer.
  • Divide peonies.
  • Save seeds from plants still in the garden.
  • Keep harvesting and preserving as long as possible.
  • Let plants you aren’t going to use anymore flower (especially herbs) so that the bees can collect nectar before winter.
  • Maintain the compost pile until it freezes.

October

  • Plant trees, shrubs and chrysanthemums.
  • Leave heads on some flowers so birds can eat them.
  • Plant garlic to overwinter.
  • Broadcast grass seed on bare spots in the lawn.
  • Rake leaves and put some to the compost pile.
  • Harvest root vegetables before the ground freezes, or leave them in and harvest through winter and in early spring.
  • Make sure garden beds are clean so you do not harbor pests over the winter.
  • Clean and oil all tools so they are ready for next planting season.
  • Start mulching over any perennials that need it with leaves and straw.

November

  • Before the ground freezes, get another soil test analyzed and add overwintering amendments.
  • Put your bird feeders up.
  • Cut back roses and mulch well.
  • Keep cutting the lawn as long as it grows, but don’t fill the lawnmower with gas. Once you won’t be mowing anymore, keep the mower running to get rid of any excess gas in the tank so it is empty over the winter. Clean the mower and get out the snow blower.
  • Maintain and turn the compost pile as long as you can before it freezes.

December

  • Batten down the hatches for a snowy winter.
  • Force paper whites so you can grow something that flowers.
  • Maintain your houseplants.
  • File your spread sheets and journals until you need them again.
  • Relax.
  • Then you start all over again!