Saturday, April 18, 2009

"When Can I Plant In My Garden?"

My one neighbor asks me every year, "do you think we can plant our gardens yet?"

I'll admit. I plant early most years, but it helps that my raised bed gardens are snuggled up to the house. Most people think "no big-deal" right? Wrong. Having the garden beds that close to the house means they get warmer much sooner and benefit from the heat radiating off the house. It's not unusual for me to have VERY early crops and a much longer growing season ~ My asparagus seems to come up earlier, my strawberries ripen sooner and my tomatoes will stick around sometimes well into October!

So my answer to my neigbor is often "I don't think so, you're a bit early."

She probably thinks I'm being crabby or not helpful, but the bottom line is her garden is at the back of the yard and does not benefit from some weather protection.

One thing you can consider when planting your garden is Mother Nature's cues. I use some of the spring signs to tell me that it's time to plant. I figure Mohter Nature knows what she is doing right? I also use my journal to tell me when I planted LAST year and the years before that. (I have a GREAT 10-year journal called Journal 10+ that allows me to write an abbreviated update of what I did that day the year before and it tracks 10 years of information!) It's a good way to have a successful veggie garden every year!

Farmers have use the signs of spring to indicate when it's time to plant the garden for eons - It's even mainstay of the annual Old Farmer’s Almanac. This type of planning is called phenological planning. Some think it's considered Old Wives Tales, but these natural signs may be a good indicator that the timing is right.

I noticed the other day that the forsythia blooms came out - What does that mean? Time to plant the peas!

Here are some interesting Farmer's Almanac planting tips:

  • Plant corn and beans when elm leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear, when oak leaves are the size of a mouse’s ear, when apple blossoms begin to fall, or when dogwoods are in full bloom.
  • Plant lettuce, spinach, peas, broccoli and cabbage when the lilacs show their first leaves or when daffodils begin to bloom.
  • Plant tomatoes, early corn and peppers when dogwoods are in peak bloom or when daylilies start to bloom.
  • Plant cucumbers and squash when lilac flowers fade.
  • Plant potatoes when the first dandelion blooms.
  • Plant beets and carrots when dandelions are blooming.
  • Plant peas when the forsythia blooms.
So there you have it - Use some of these signs to plan your garden this year and see what happens!

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