Month-to-Month Gardening Guide
This section will help you with all of your gardening needs throughout the year.
Many of us think of spring as the beginning of the gardening year, but the truth is, the first seeds of a garden - the very idea of the garden and all of the planning that goes with it - are planted in winter.
Whether you're creating your first garden or refining your established garden, planning is an essential step in the process. In temperature climate areas, January is ideal for reviewing notes from last season; taking stock of seed supplies; mapping the location of new beds and borders; reading up on plant choices; and choosing new cultivars for your garden.
If February freezes make you shiver when you step outside, don't despair. Put your gardening enthusiasm to work indoors. There's much to do! February is prime time for starting seeds inside. In most areas, you can start seeds of cool-loving plants like broccoli, cabbage, onions, and pansies this month so the seedlings will be ready to plant outdoors in three to four weeks before the last frost. Near the end of the month, gardeners in many regions also can start warm-weather crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, and annual and perennial flowers.
Outdoors this month, focus on the framework of your landscape. Now is your chance to view "the bones" of your property with a critical eye to determine what changes you'll make this year. Consider what trees and shrubs to add or remove; where to put a new perennial bed or arbor; and which branches to prune before buds break and new growth begins.
Now's also the best time to get in touch with our office to order specific plant varieties you want to plant later this spring. Our qualified associates can help any questions or concerns you may have about your landscape and develop creative solutions to problem areas in the yard.
Could it be?...... A sign of warmth! Can winter finally be coming to an end?!
Do not fall so easily for that week of warm temps so typical this time of year. Almost assuredly, there will be a couple more freezes before winter finally gives up.
Take those days of warm to evaluate your yard, note trouble spots, start putting your plans from the winter onto your physical landscape and make changes where necessary.
If you absolutely can't stand to let a good day go to waste, go ahead and clean off plant debris and trim plants. BUT (and this is a big but) make sure you finish with a healthy layer of mulch. This is to prepare for any late winter freezes.
March is also the ideal time to incorporate organic material and other soil amendments into the soil of flower and food crop beds. A good compost will be well aged and have a balance of green and brown components. (Forgot to compost your leaves last fall? No worries! We've got you covered with ready-made compost at our office.)
Who needs a calender to know it's spring? With magnolias, forsythia, daffodils, and fruit trees in full bloom, nature makes it abundandly clear that spring has arrived and, with it, planting time!
With plans made and beds prepared, you can start planting. Take advantage of increased daylight hours by setting out transplants in the evening. With a good soaking, the plants will settle in during the cool nighttime hours before the bright sun returns. Keep the plants semi-shaded for atleast the first several days, until they adjust. This is also the time to stock up on mulch.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself with a flat of bargain bedding plants or a discounted rose that isn't part of your plan! Until you figure out where to put your adoptees, stick them in a "nursery" bed to keep them from becoming more potbound.
Some plants are so universally loved that it's hard to imagine a garden without them. Take tomatoes, for instance. Nearly everyone's favorite garden vegetable, tomatoes are one of the last things you give up when you can't grow much else. Even the smallest gardens usually will include at least one potted cherry or slicing tomato plant.
Some time this month, insect pests will discover your garden. Your plants can tolerate some damage. Besides, beneficial insects like lady beetles and parasitic wasps should soon arrive to keep the pests in check. However, when flower, fruit, or veggie damage seems to be getting out of hand, you can control pests effectively with nonchemical methods, such as hand picking, and using sticky traps. Our office also has a wide variety of chemical measures if that's your cup o' tea!
Also, remember that healthy plants are much less susceptible to insects. To keep your plants strong and healthy, fertilize them with compost. Applying just ½ to 1 inch of it to your beds will help to keep plants healthy. Test your soil every few years to find out whether you need to add an amendment and, if so, how much. Provide plenty of water. If your garden hasn't been getting at least an inch of rain each week, you'll need to water it to ensure that plants don't suffer from drought stress. Usually, taking these steps is all that's needed.
This month is the time to harvest some vegetables and enjoy what you have grown. There is much more to gardening than just the end result though. July is mostly about the simple act of taking care of your garden: watering, trimming dead blossoms, mulching, staking plants, tending your compost, pulling weeds, feeding plants, and checking for pests.
August nights usually begin to hint that the end of this year's season soon will be here for most regions. There are at least a couple of ways you can keep your garden growing. One way is to extend the season for this year's crops. Another is to propagate your cuttings from already established plants
In most places, the garden puts on its grand finale this month. Vegetables and fruits are producing at their peak and late summer asters, roses, and chryanthemums are in full color. Usually this month weeds come strong so be sure to be prepared to weed your garden/landscape.
When the garden winds down, gardeners do what they can to preserve its bounty through the winter. September is for stocking up from the seasons last blooms.
This month leaves change color and fall from trees, days grow short, and cold nights. Though this month is usually the very end for gardeners and a good time to clean your garden/landscape one last time before winter.
Spend a few weekends this month putting your garden to bed, you'll actually be making a big investment in next years garden. Right now your yard should have a wealthy load of compostables such as leaves, grass, clippings, and spent plants.
Removing spent plants and fallen fruit from the garden does much more than make your property look good, it goes a long way toward preventing disease and insect problems next year.
A garden is much more than a place you designate for growing plants. A closer look shows that your garden is home to a variety of life ranging from barely visible insects to larger animals like toads and rabbits. Observing wildlife in your garden can be entertaining and educational but can also be a problem.
You can learn to live with these critters by observing their behavior. Understanding the habits of these animals can help you manage them, usually a sturdy fence fares best.