Planning your year

The most important dates to know are the estimated dates of the last frost before spring and first frost before winter. You can find them for your area on the Farmer’s Almanac. These dates, especially last frost, help you figure out when you need to start seedlings and can plant outdoors, based on the needs of each plant.

For example, in 2019 our last/first frost dates are April 5/November 15. My eggplant’s seed packet says to start the seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before last frost. So, working backwards, I need to start the seeds by February 8 at the latest.

Timing

Though your exact timing will depend on the plants you want to grow, here’s a general guideline for what you should be doing each month:

  • January - Read books for inspiration, order seeds

  • February - Start seedlings indoors as needed.

  • March - Continue starting seedling as needed. Start buying any needed equipment, such as containers.

  • April - Buy soil and compost. Start planting based on last frost date and each plant’s needs.

  • May - August - Water plants daily (probably). Prune them and check for pests and diseases at least once a week. Harvest when fruit and veg start appearing.

  • September - Plant fall crops. Continue maintenance of existing plants.

  • October - Clear away plants as they end their life cycle. Continue maintenance for fall crops.

  • November - Bring in any annuals that need to winter inside. Ensure everything is secured and sheltered so it won’t blow away or disintegrate over the winter.

  • December - Start dreaming for next year.

Katie Arathoon