There are more than four seasons in the garden world.
Cycles of plant growth, temperature, and day length dictate the rhythms of the garden. The gardener who learns to work within these rhythms will be rewarded with abundance.Every locality is a bit different. The seasonal milestones will come in the same cycle, but the specific dates will vary. In North America, most gardeners will have their last spring frost in April or May. Very warm zones may have little or no frost, while high-altitude and far-north gardens wait longer for warm weather. The dates we give below are typical for the majority of climate zones.
1) Early Spring (February-April)This is the season when summer crops are planted indoors, starting with onions in January or February, and progressing through tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in Feb-March to squash, melons,broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and more as spring progresses.
Ourdoors, spring grains are planted as soon as the ground can be worked, followed by extremely hardy crops like arugula, mache, spinach, peas, turnips, radish. Soon all the brassica tribe can be planted--mustard, kale, and such, as well as lettuces and endives; chard and beets; carrots and parsnips. Transplants of cabbage and broccoli can be set out while there is still frost but the ground will no longer freeze. Qinoa should be sown 2 weeks before the last frost date, as it prefers to germinate in cold soil.
2)Late Spring(April-May)As the last-frost date nears, everything grows faster. Sowings of the above spring crops can be made up to and past the last frost date.
Once the last frost date is reached, you can plant out transplants of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and other more tender plants. Dark-colored beans have more resistance to rot in cold soil, and can be direct-sown at the last frost date, along with squash.
It is a good idea to wait until the soil is good and warm before sowing corn, melons, white beans, okra, amaranth, and other very cold-sensitive crops.
This is also the time to ssow buckwheat or alfalfa on areas you want to enrich with a cover crops. This is a great plan for areas that will have fall vegetables like cabbages later in the summer.
July 1 is the time to make late sowings of bush beans, corn, and the other summer crops.
Late July to early August is the time to sow fall cabbages, kale, parsnips, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and other long-season fall crops. wait til flea beetles have subsided, but allow enough time for them to be full-sized around first frost.
Late August is a great time to start making sowings of lettuce, endive, mustard, Asian greens, and other fast-growing fall crops. These can be sown right up to the last frost date, and we recommend a sowing every two weeks until you know what works best in your area.
4)Fall (September-October)Last sowings of lettuce, daikon radish, mache, mizuna, Tatsoi, and other Asian greens.
Time to sow cover crops for winter, to prevent erosion and enrich the soil for next year. A big bonus is that they prevent weeds from taking over, making spring planting super-easy.
In areas where summer crops are still producing, consider undersowing with a cover crops while the tomatoes or whatever are still in place. Or else mulch to prevent weeds when the tomatoes are gone.
Harvest time for the fall vegetables planted in July, August, and September.
Sow mache, mizuna, minutina, arugula, and endive/chickory in cold frames, or outdoors if your winters are mild and your ground doesnt freeze.
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