It’s never too early to plan for next year’s garden. Use the following approximate dates to start next summer’s dream garden.
Seeds indoors: globe artichokes, onions from seeds. Water: if there has been no snow for a month, water newly planted trees at midday when temperatures reach about 40 degrees
Seeds indoors: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, celeriac, cardoons, kale, leeks, lettuces (if not direct seeded to be set out April 1)
Trees: prune fruit trees and fruit-bearing shrubs, but especially apple and crabapple trees, suckers and waterspouts from tree limbs.
Pest control: plan to rotate crops by avoiding major plant families from sharing the same soil without a three-year hiatus. Flea beetles will lay eggs in the soil where you last planted the brassica (mustard, cabbage) family. A different flea beetle attacks the nightshade (tomato, pepper, potato) family but the pest controls are the same as for the brassicas.
Seeds outdoors when temperatures reach at least 50-60 degrees regularly: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, kohlrabi, arugula, mesclun, lettuce, onions, parsnips, radishes, rutabaga, spinach, turnips, chives, dill, fennel, thyme, oregano, salad burnet, sagePest control: place row cover immediately over cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts to defeat the cabbage moth
Roots, tubers and plants: onion sets, seed potatoes, rhubarb burls, shallots, strawberry plants, grapes (mulch grape roots), tarragon
Seeds indoors: eggplants, peppers, basil, tomatoes (for larger vines), cilantro
Ornamentals: cut back ornamental grasses, transplant shrubs and roses that need to be moved, sow hardy annuals like larkspur, bachelor’s button, calendula and violas in the garden, pansy plants (but harden off first), bare-root perennials and hardy lilies
Seeds outdoors: peas and pod peas, French sorrel
Seeds indoors: tomatoes for smaller tomato vines
Vegetable transplants: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
Pest control: place floating row cover immediately over plants of cabbage family. Also, putting out larger transplants will mitigate flea beetle damage.
Roots: asparagus, potatoes
Seeds indoors: cucumbers, melons, gourds, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash if not directly seeded in the garden at a later date (these crops may grow just as quickly directly seeded in the garden as they do not like to be transplanted). Also, tender annuals like nasturtium.
Ornamentals: move volunteer perennials seedlings, cutback late summer blooming shrubs like buddleia and blue mist spirea, Russian sage, harden off shrubs and perennials purchased as container plants, prune winter kill from roses, prune lilacs by harvesting blooms and cut out dead stalks
Seed outdoors: sunflowers
Pest control: soapy dish soap sprayed on aphids
Seeds outdoors when temperatures reach 70 degrees regularly: beans, corn, cucumber, gourds, melons, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers
Pest control: place row cover over cucumber, melons, squash, pumpkins to defeat the cucumber beetle remove when flowers appear so insects can pollinate
Plants outdoors: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, cilantro
Seeds outdoors: cilantro
Ornamentals: begin hardening off tender plants like basil, compost and fertilize roses
Plants outdoors: cucumber, eggplant, melons, gourds, peppers, pumpkins, winter squash, summer squash, tomato
Pest control: make tomato collars to repel cutworms (tuna can or cardboard collar placed around tomato plant and pushed into the ground to the depth of one inch)
Weather control: place walls-of-water around tomato plants or four gallon-sized water jugs around each plant. Have row cover close by in case of hail
Ornamentals: plant tender annuals
Ornamentals: divide irises and Oriental poppiesHeat control: tomatoes and peppers may have bruise marks from sun scorching where the sunlight strikes them. Raspberries will have translucent berry cells. Allow plenty of leafy grow on plants.
Consider planting tall sunflowers as shade or stretch shade cloth over scorched plants. Tomatoes will not set fruit when temperatures rise over 85 degrees; shade plants
Pest control: diatomaceous earth for earwigs
Seeds outdoors: beets, lettuces, chard, spinach, radishes, mesclun, mizuna, mustards, turnip tops, for fall crop.
Weather control: these crops may not germinate in excessive heat. Choose a shady location or wait until temperatures fall. Keep row cover close by for hail. Heavier covers for snow or frost
Ornamentals: plant peonies, divide daylilies and late-blooming perennials
Seeds outdoors: sow spinach seeds or collards (cover) for early spring (must be kept watered through winter)
Ornamentals: dig tender bulbs to save, plant spring blooming bulbs
Plant outdoors: garlic bulbs to be harvested in July, mulch as soon as planted
Seeds outdoors: cover crop of annual rye, clover, buckwheat or alfalfa in the veggie bed to prevent erosion and add nitrogen for spring
Ornamentals: mulch for winter
Compost: collect leaves, grass clippings and yard waste for next year’s compost