One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides. — W.E. Johns
Take the guesswork out of gardening.

Monthly To-Do’s for the Engaged Gardener

January: Create a Garden Plan, test your soil and look for rodent damage
February: Clean all tools and equipment, create an indoor herb garden, turn the soil and start cole crops
March: Secure seeds to fit your plan, plant 40° soil crops, spread compost, prune
April: Start raised beds, 60° soil crops, compost perennial veggies, create lists of what is planted where, check for early bugs
May: Clean irrigation system, plant 70° crops, secure and use frost cloth in colder climates, check for Aphids
June: Put all trellis’ in to allow climbing plants to thrive, fertilize post-emergent crops, check for weevils on peas
July: Plant crop #2 of fast/early peas
August: Fertilize early crops to extend grow season, plant late crops of leafy greens, harvest, harvest, harvest
September: Harvest some more, compost fallow areas and prep for next year
October: Clean irrigation system, cover garden with newspaper and leaves to control weeds
November: Cover garden with straw and unit cover, remove pump and solar panel
December: Check soil pH and adjust

The Backyard Garden-Polaroid2-min
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A Universal Guide to Soil Temperature and Planting

  • 40°+: Lettuce, Kale, Peas, Spinach, Radishes, Arugula
  • 50°+: Onions, Leeks, Turnips, Swiss Chard, Parsnips, Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts
  • 60°+: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrots, Beans, Beets, Pumpkins, Lima Beans, Chives, Endive, Rhubarb, Celery
  • 70°+: Tomatoes, Squash, Corn, Cucumbers, Melons, Peppers, Eggplant, Cantaloupe
RegionJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
Central MidwestTomatoes & Peppers start indoors. Potted herbs indoors.Avoid compacting soil.Garden Tour time!!Stake tomato plants and keep moist. Plan ahead for fall crops.Plant lettuce, radish and mustard seed for fall.Pick the last tomatoes now – fried green tomatoes!
Mid-AtlanticDirect seed fast growers – lettuce, radish, scallions. Plant cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, etc.)Plant warm weather edibles: tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, squash.Mulch to conserve moisture.Allow tomatoes to ripen fully. Plant fall salad greens.Pick all tomatoes before night temps fall below 50°. Cure winter squash in the sun for 10 days – avoid frost.Heap chopped leaves on vegetable gardens to encourage worm activity.
MountainSame as Central Midwest.Add animal manure to vegetable gardens – aged at least six months.Slowly acclimate vegetable transplants before planting – follow chart above.Watch tomatoes for signs of “spotted wilt” – remove infected plants.Plant fall vegetable garden: parsnips, kale, turnips, etc.Ripen tomatoes indoors (paper bag). Harvest and save seeds from your favorite vegetables.Cover tender vegetables at night to extend gardening season.
NortheastTest soil pH: lean to acidic for vegetables (6.0 – 6.9 range). Sow seeds for spinach, radishes, lettuce and arugula.Plant peas. Direct sow carrots, beets and kale. Start tomatoes, eggplant and peppers indoors.Plant your own sales: tomatillos, cilantro, chili peppers.Mulch to conserve moisture.Check tomatoes for Aphids. Direct sow cole crops. Pick zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers when young and tender.Snip some foliage off tomato plants to allow sunlight to reach the fruit. Pick beans and cucumbers every other day to maximize yield.Sow a final crop of lettuce, spinach and radishes.Harvest pumpkins and winter squash: leave some stem on to prevent rot. Snip the central growing tips on Brussel Sprouts so the
uppermost sprouts develop. Sprouts taste better when frost nipped.
Cut asparagus foliage to ground level. Top dress with manure for a better crop next year.
Upper MidwestSow seeds indoors, Keep moist until germination.Plant cool season veggies once soil is workable: (potatoes, lettuce, spinach, peas)Plant warm season crops after the last frost.Harvest baby potatoes once plants bloom. Stake tomatoes early. Apply mulch. Plant cool season crops at the end of the month.Harvest vegetables daily to extend grow cycle.
RegionJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember
South CentralRaised beds work great here. Bring tomatoes and peppers outside at the end of the month.Replace lost or broken tools and make sure you have the essentials: trowel, hand pruner, hoe, wheelbarrow or cart.Sow another crop of bush beans for late summer harvest.Harvest veggies for winter use (can or freeze). Blanche tomatoes and store in zippered freezer bags for stews, sauces and soups. Plant another crop of bush beans for a fall crop.Sow leftover seeds from spring crops: spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, onions. Buy row covers to extend the growing season.Plant fall veggies: spinach, chard, mustard, radishes and herbs: cliantro, dill, parsley.
SoutheastPlant cool weather veggies (see above).Plant summer veggies after frost risk is gone.Plant heat loving veggies. Make fresh salads now while lettuce is abundant. Remove plants once they grow tall.Insert tomato supports to help support heavy fruit load.Remove the tips of basil when flowers and seeds begin to form.Sow seeds of sugar snap peas for fall harvest. Give them a trellis to climb.Plant leafy greens: lettuce, broccoli, collards and kale for fall harvest.Plant parsley and cilantro for fresh herbs in the fall and spring.Cut the center stalk of broccoli but let the plan remain to grow side shoots.
SoCalCreate garden plan (sketch or software) Plant lettuce, radishes, kale, sweet peas, chives, parsley, strawberries and chard in newly mulched bedsTrack garden progress and performance for future reference.Plant corn, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and beans. Glue a small mirror on a stick for pest search on the “under leaves”.Build tomato supports or use cages to help support fruit.Harvest fruits and veggies as they ripen and pick flowers to prolong bloom. Set ripening pumpkins on plastic to prevent rot.Don’t overwater tomatoes to prevent watery, flavorless fruit. Harvest herbs (rosemary, savory, thyme, sage, lavender).Sow seeds of cool season veggies: peas, arugula, spinach, radishes, carrots. Sow lettuce seeds weekly for a longlasting crop. Harvest pumpkins and squash when they are colorful, the rind is hard and the vine is brown.Incorporate onion and shallot sets into existing garden. Harvest green tops through the winter and the bulbs in spring. Sow sugar peas about 10 weeks prior to first frost. Build trellis to encourage climbing.Plant colorful chard, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower amidst fall blooming flowers.

Plan Your Garden for the Garden Season

The 4ft x 6ft grids below are provided to plan your garden bed. Use square foot gardening or plant in rows.

PlantingGrid1
PlantingGrid2

Example: Square foot gardening

PlantingGrid3

Example: Plant in rows

Bring Your Garden to the Table with These Recipes

We’ve gathered the top sites that offer great recipe ideas for your garden’s bounty!

Recipe
Food Network Recipies
better homes and gardens
Epicurious Recipes