Some winters are so cold and snowy that we can’t wait for the warmth of spring. So, when the seed catalogs first arrive, we’re very eager to start planning the year’s vegetable and flower gardens. On the other hand, some winters are mild, and spring bulbs start sprouting early, and that also spurs us to get going with our garden planning. Actually, our garden planning is happening all year long. We’re sharing it with you to offer a guideline and some tips for planning your own backyard gardens. It's simple, straightforward and manageable for people with busy lives and relatively small suburban backyards.
Here is a photo gallery of photos of some of the activities described below.
One of the year-round activities we practice is keeping a garden journal. We found one by Reader’s Digest called Successful Gardening Journal.
We use the journal to keep track of the weather and make yard and garden notes. We re-visit our journals from previous years, as they provide a record of the weather and of changes to our trees, yard, and garden; this informs each year's planning. What worked and what didn't?
Here is a list of our main monthly tasks. It is helpful to see the year’s work laid out this way so you can plan and prepare.
February: Order seeds
Late-February to Early March (no later than 3/15 for us): Start seeds indoors
April: Transfer to cold frame
May: Transfer to Garden
June-July: Weeding, pruning, other tending to plants
County Fair: our local fair is in July, and we always enter several of our vegetables and several of our flowers
We are usually fortunate enough to have more vegetables than we need, so we share with family and friends and with our local foodbank (they welcome fresh produce)
August: Storing vegetables for winter
September: Start Fall greens indoors
October: Planting of greens outdoors
November-January: Eating stored vegetables and harvesting winter greens