I finally took some time over the weekend to plan out my spring planting calendar and was pleased to note that the only vegetables I had missed starting on time were those in the brassica family I have vowed never to plant again. At least until next year, when I plan to have a screened box to protect them from those inane little worms that left my broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts nothing but green skeletons last year.
For those of you who would like a little help with what to plant when (believe it or not, you aren’t supposed to start seeds the minute they’re available at WalMart, nor plant them the first sunny day after they’re available), I decided to make my planting calendar available as a free download. It is actually color coded for zones three through ten, though I know absolutely nothing about gardening in warmer climates. Do y’all even start seeds down there? If you are further north, you may want to actually start seeds earlier than I’ve indicated due to a shorter growing season. Who wants their tomatoes to die back a week after they start really coming on? The dates on the calendar were achieved by counting backwards from the last frost date in each zone and comparing that to the charts in Square Foot Gardening.
If you are not sure what zone you are in, Burpee has a nice map on their website that even lets you enter your zip code for an immediate confirmation that you can indeed read your location correctly. You then take that information and look at my March planting calendar and notice the bottom where each of the zones are printed in a different color. Say you are zone 5, like me. You will notice that “zone 5″ is green. Just follow the dates printed in green for a rough estimate of when to start or plant seeds.
“Start” refers to the date you should start seeds indoors. If you have cold frames or some other method of warming the soil and protecting young seedlings from the cold, you can start the seeds there…but if you are that far along in your gardening experience, you probably do not need me to tell you when to start your seeds. “Plant” refers to the date you should plant either the seeds or your seedlings outdoors.
March is a pretty easy month for us northern gardeners. Here in the great Midwestern swampland, it is still too wet to even think about tilling. It is, however, a good time to think about starting a compost pile if you don’t have one already. You can also map out your garden on paper and start a garden journal to keep track of your successes and failures to learn from next year. Next week, I’ll share some ways to extend the growing season a little into those tempting, Springy mornings we are currently getting without having to worry about the fact that we are still a long ways away from that “after all danger of frost” date printed on the back of the seed packet.
I will also put up April’s calendar by the first of April to help you through your gardening chores for next month so remember to come back if you find this at all helpful!
Also consider sharing in the Share the Harvest challenge! Plant a little extra to share with a neighbor, friend or family member who could use it and enter to win $15 in free seeds! You can also download my free e-book, Developing Christian Character Through Gardening, to help turn you garden into a summer lesson on The Parable of the Sower.
Any questions? Is there any information that would be helpful to include as I start working on subsequent calendars?