Planting in Season for your Unique Location
One of the biggest challenges in gardening is learning what to plant when. To save time and money and get the best results, it’s wise to plant in season. That simply means that you work WITH nature to sow or transplant when the weather and season is most favourable to growing what you want to plant.
How to Determine What to Plant and When
- Know your zone – Climate zones are generalised because seasons can change quickly. They can arrive early or late – or not at all! If you are not sure already, find out which climate zone you live in. This will help you choose the best plants for your area and learn the correct sowing time. Here are some resources to help you learn more about world climate zones:
- New Zealand
- USA and South America
- Canada (also zone maps)
- Europe (also hardiness zones map)
- UK and world climate zones
- World Hardiness zones and map
- Use a planting calendar – if you are unfamiliar with what to plant when, then a calendar is a useful tool to help you learn and remember which plants grow well in different seasons. Some vegies will wilt in summer heat, whereas others thrive in cold weather. It’s a waste of resources to plant at the wrong time! (Read on to find out more about calendars.)
- Check your space – What you grow also depends on the length of your growing season, how much sunlight your garden gets and the size of your planting space. If you have a lot of shade, this will limit the varieties of what you can grow whereas sunny gardens will offer more alternatives. Some gardens only get enough sun at certain times of the year. You may have to look at your garden and maximise vertical growing space to get access to enough sun and increase the variety of what you can grow.
- Maximise Success with Moon Planting – Gardening by the moon has been practiced for many thousands of years and is not about planting at night but about being in harmony with natural growth patterns! Understanding how to work with nature brings a whole host of benefits and it can be as simple as using a moon calendar.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck that which is planted.” – Eccl 3:1-2
Garden Calendars & Planting Guides
Depending on where you live, there are some useful online planting calendars, that will help you determine your climate zone and suitable plants to grow. Some of the best I’ve found to work with are:
- Gardenate – Provides a handy garden calendar with general information; optional monthly email reminders to prompt you on what plants are suitable for planting right now; and plant profiles with details about many edibles. It covers all climate zones in Australia, New Zealand, UK and the USA. You just simply choose your country and zone from the drop down list.
- Gardening Australia Vegie Guide – This vegetable planting guide is for all climate zones within Australia – you can quickly identify your area on the map. Select the month and you are provided with a list of suitable vegies to plant. Brief vegie profiles are also in this guide.
- All Things Plants Garden Planting Calendar – Enter your location in the US and it will give you a guide on when to sow seeds indoors, direct sow or transplant seedlings.
- Mother Earth News Planting Guide. A useful resource for planting. You can set up reminders of what to plant when in your location.
Useful Organic Gardener’s Tips
Get your planting organised – I personally use MyFolia (an online garden tracking & organising community) to keep a regular record of my plantings (most of the time!)
- AUSTRALIA: Check out tips from the Diggers Guide to Choosing the Right Plants for Your Climate; Organic Gardener’s Annual Planting/Sowing Guide and Eden Seeds Planting Guide that cover Australia’s major climatic regions.
- NEW ZEALAND: Planting Calendar with a list of 53 vegetables to plant in both warm and cool climates.
- UNITED STATES: The Vegetable Garden Planting Schedule is a resource for US gardeners with a guide of what to plant in each USDA zone each season. There is also a helpful online calendar to help you with seasonal and monthly tasks for your zone. Hometown Seeds have a Planting Schedule for Cool and Warm Season Vegetables and also a handy Planting Guide for hardy, semi-hardy, tender, very tender and late crops for a Fall harvest.
- CANADA: Planting chart.
- UNITED KINGDOM: Gardening Data’s guide to Vegetable Sowing & Planting through the Year – This site also has a guide to growing vegetables from seed.
There are also seasonal activities that you need to attend to at different times of the year – not just sowing and planting, but also pruning, pest and disease management, garden maintenance and harvesting. You will find a wealth of seasonal gardening advice in these notes from Green Harvest:
- Winter Green Notes (building healthy soils; winter citrus care; actions to take in the garden; what to plant in May/June; attracting insect-eating birds to your garden; coping with an abundant harvest of lemons or limes; fruit tree pruning and maintenance tasks.)
- Spring Green Notes (growing delicious home grown tomatoes; tomato relish recipe; reducing plant disease problems; spring citrus care; organic strategies for nematode problems; salad mixes; seed sowing; sowing and planting guide; asparagus; what to do in the garden from July – October in sub-tropical zones.)
- Summer Green Notes (summer citrus care; what to do in the garden November to January; coping with the heat; planting guide for summer; seedling survival strategies; organic weed control; how to organically remove pests from your home; choosing fruit trees; extending the harvest; and growing your own chook food.)
- Autumn Green Notes (improve the pest balance in your garden; using the rosella harvest; what to do in the garden February to April; what to plant in autumn; herbs in permaculture and autumn rose care in warmer areas.)
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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2016. http://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.