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Year Round Gardening: what to plant when
Did you know that thanks to our very unique growing location, you can pretty much have something growing in your garden year round? That’s right! You can be eating at least one thing out of your garden every single day of the year if you toss your seeds right! How cool is that?!?!
Now, first, let me say that I know this seems daunting, maybe even impossible! 5 years ago I was like some of you: I killed everything that grew, I couldn’t keep a cactus alive, pots were impossible, and everything I planted was a bust. But NOW I grow almost ALL of our veggies FROM HOME!!! AND I am writing this list from 100% experience and memory. Seriously: I didn’t look up one single thing to write the list below (forgive me for any mistakes…I just wanted to show you that after some time you will be able to do this from memory, too). CLICK HERE FOR A FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST AND TO MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL OF MY TIPS ON GARDENING IN THE FUTURE!!!
So, all it takes is a little planning and to hang THIS LIST up by your back door (or wherever the door to your garden is). Eventually, in just a few planting seasons, you will be able to take this list down and write your OWN LIST from memory!! =) Following the monthly list below of what to plant each month will guarantee you have something edible every day of the year:
Jan: Onion transplants. Get these babies in mid-January for summer harvest. Plant way more than you need, and you will have plenty to eat fresh, dried and powdered, and leave room for some crop failure (can you say “learned the hard way”?).
Feb: Plant spinach, lettuce, radish, carrots, sweet peas, cilantro, parsley, beets, and turnips from seed, and broccoli, Brussels, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, and kale from transplant. Get your seed potatoes in the ground by Feb. 14, and plant asparagus crowns (these won’t be ready for 1-2 years depending on the age of your crowns, but get them going now and you won’t regret it!).
March: Do another round of the seeds from February for continuous harvest. After the last freeze (average last freeze here is March 17, but watch the 10-day forecast to cast your bet.. always save a few just in a case an unexpected freeze comes), you can plant pretty much every “summer” vegetable: cucumber, squash, dill, fennel, nasturtium (yummy edible flowers), basil, tomato transplants, eggplant transplants, pepper transplants (very late March), okra, corn, melons, black eyed-peas, beans, PLUS all of the seeds from February AGAIN! Now it’s ON!
April: If it was too freezy in March, follow the March protocol in April as soon as the last freeze is over. You should be getting to harvest your veggies from February now, but the WAITING is torture for your March veggies. Just. Wait. The #1 thing gardening has taught me (or keeps trying to teach me) is PATIENCE. And FAITH. (I guess that’s two things, heh). Just keep watering regularly (more tips on that in another post) and they will grow. They will. Promise. =) Tip: Go ahead and throw out the seeds from the February list every time it rains. Just throw them out everywhere. Just for fun! Pretend you are feeding the chickens on Little House on the Prairie and…wait…did I just type that out loud? Never mind. Just throw them.
May-Aug: Are you eating something yet? You should be! Things will start getting yummy from here. As far as planting goes, if you have tomato transplants you can plant them now for Fall tomatoes (I got this advice from Texas Worm Ranch). You can also plant black-eyed peas this entire period. But for the most part this is water/harvest/water/harvest time! Enjoy! (Stop throwing those seeds out for a while…actually, it won’t rain this entire time so there would be no reason to want to!)
September: See! Wasn’t that fun?! All that food! Guess what?! It’s time to plant that Fall garden! September is a little tricky here. It could be 50 degrees; it could still be 100 degrees! So make that 10-day forecast your best friend. When it starts getting a little cooler, you can start throwing out those February seeds again (spinach, lettuce, radish, carrots, sweet peas, cilantro, parsley, beets, and turnips), try another round of dill and maybe basil if we have a late first-freeze, and put out the same transplants from February too (broccoli, Brussels, cauliflower, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, and kale)! I HIGHLY recommend getting a few artichoke transplants in there. I planted one just for fun, totally forgot about it, then one day looked at it and saw AN ARTICHOKE! It was the summer of artichokes! Even the girls (8 and 5) ate them! The leaves are medicinal, too (another post for another time).
October: It’s time for garlic! My favorite time! Put. Garlic. Everywhere. There is nothing more fun than plopping a clove here, a clove there, and then having your VERY OWN GARLIC the next summer!! If September was too hot, get the September transplants out in early October, and start throwing those seeds out every time it rains again! You can start some containers of lettuce, parsley, basil, cilantro, and other herbs to move inside if it gets too cold.
Nov-Dec: Savor the rewards. You can get a little experimenty and leave some tomatoes and pepper plants even after a freeze. If we have a mild winter, you may get some winter peppers and tomatoes to last the whole season! Try it out! Now that this list is hanging by the door that leads to your year-round garden, you can just start back at the top! Go you! Make sure and let me know all your veggies that you have extra of…I always LOVE a good trade!! Don’t forget to sign up for my post announcements so you don’t miss Lesson 2!! FOR YOUR FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST AND TO MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MISS MY FUTURE POSTS, CLICK HERE!
Click here for Urban Farm’s podcast interview of me and my school garden program.
Click here for Urban Farm’s follow-up interview of me as the Featured Farmer on their blog.