How do you know when to plant? Well, there are no guarantees, but if you let nature tell you when it's safe to plant seeds or put your plants out, you're probably on the right track. Nature sends certain signals that will let gardeners know how the weather and climate are progressing. There's a science devoted to this, called phenology.
Phenology is the study of the timing of recurring biological phenomena and their relationship to the weather. It is useful to gardeners, as a guide for when to plant. Weather can vary from year to year, but you can let the plants and animals tell you when it's time to start seeds. For instance, plant your peas when the forsythia blooms. It's no guarantee that you won't lose a few plants to a late frost, but phenology is a good guideline to keep you in the ballpark. You can even use it to be pro-active against pests.
Here's some phenological gardening advice I've collected over the years. For the most part, I/ve found it reliable. If you have any to share with us, please drop me an email.
Read more about gardening with nature in Organic Gardening Essentials.
|Plant peas||When forsythia & daffodils blooms|
|Plant potatoes||When 1st dandelion blooms|
|When the shadbush flowers|
|Plant beets, carrots, cole crops, lettuce and spinach||When lilac is in first leaf|
|Plant beans, cucs and squash||When lilac is in full bloom|
|Plant tomatoes||When lily-of-the-valley are in full bloom|
|Transplant eggplant, melon and peppers||When irises bloom|
|Plant corn||When apple blossoms start to fall|
|Seed fall cabbage and broccoli||When catalpas and mockoranges bloom|
|Seed morning glories||When maple leaves reach full size|
|Plant cool season flowers (pansies, snapdragons...)||When aspen and chokecherry trees leaf out|
|Eastern tent caterpillars to hatch||When crab apples start to bloom|
|Gypsy moths hatch||When the shadbush flowers|
|Squash vine borer eggs are laid||When chicory flowers|
|Mexican bean beetle larvae hatch||When foxglove flowers open.|
|Japanese beetles arrive||When morning glory vines start to climb|