Well we officially had a snow storm/ice storm yesterday, so this gave me some time to plan out my garden. I decided to plan the layout of when seeds need to be sewed indoors, transplanted outside, direct seeded outside and approximate harvest time. I started by grabbing a freebie calendar to write everything out in. I used my Market Gardener book’s vegetable index to figure out where to start because Quebec, where he lives, is a zone 5 and we are a zone 5. I used his book because I have a hard time mastering succession plantings of the same vegetable to get both spring and fall crops, and spaced out harvests so my lettuce isn’t all done at once. Once I used the information from the book, I looked back at my own pictures to see when I harvested certain vegetables/fruits/etc…
I snap quick pictures throughout the year (since most of us carry our phones on us) that can be easily used to help remember planting dates, harvest dates, etc.
The last thing I did was to look at days to maturity, so I know approximate harvest dates. The days to maturity will not only differ by type of vegetable but also the VARIETY of the vegetable. Based on the days to maturity, I decided what varieties I would plant first, so they could beat the heat (if necessary for something like a spinach that bolts) or if the variety of spinach can take the heat a little bit more I would know to plant that later than an early bolting variety. Does that even make sense? I don’t want to put a variety that can’t take the heat closer to summer…I want my veggies to stretch and finish the best they can.
So my finished calendar looks something like this:
When planning your calendar this is a quick run down of things you will want to think about:
- Last and first frost dates
- What vegetables are you growing
- When plants need to be started indoors vs direct seeded into the garden
- How long do plants need to be started inside before being transplanted outside (ex. peppers are around 8 weeks prior to transplant)
- What vegetables are frost tolerant
- When do your transplants have to go outside
- What vegetables am I planting that bolt or die in the heat
- What are some qualities about this variety of vegetable that can work in my favor (ex. late bolting, can be planted more towards late spring and grow through part of the summer)
- What the days to maturity are
- What do I need to change from last year
I hope that this calendar planning run down helps you to start thinking about your garden plans. Next post I will be working on is how we layout our gardens.