Welcome back to the series on planning a garden!
This week’s garden plan encourages you to make a calendar that makes planting easy. This is my favourite part of planning my garden because I love calendars. I love securing a date for a task and know about scheduled appointments ahead of time. This allows me the freedom to arrange my other commitments around these important dates. It’s wonderful! In fact, I sometimes leap for joy when I think about calendars and planning ahead.
Benefits of planning a garden calendar
There is a great saying by Benjamin Franklin “fail to plan, plan to fail”. I stand with any person who advocates for planning ahead.
There are just so many benefits for planning a garden calendar. Let me name a few. Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to:
- Prepare for the set task ahead of time
- Prepare other things that would make the task easier or better
- Arrange other commitments around the task
- Use the time ahead of the task to think through any potential pitfalls
That only names a few, but you can see what the hype is all about.
Back to the garden plan to make a calendar for easier planting, I can attest to this. Having a garden calendar really saved me from calling it quits earlier in the season. If I did not plan set tasks for certain days, I would have thrown in the towel the moment summer picked up speed and the heat was too much to bear.
Now “how does one plan a garden calendar” you may ask. Let me share with you my garden plan 102: how I make a calendar to plant easily.
Almanac planting calendar
To make my garden calendar, I start at www.almanac.com. The Almanac website is the Old Farmer’s Almanac hub for weather, moon phases and gardening help. They help farmers (and gardeners!) forecast the weather and moon phases to help with planting.
When you go to the Almanac planting calendar, you enter your zip code, city or state. Within your area, the almanac creates a list of vegetables to plant in the spring, with planting dates according to your last frost date. It also list planting dates according to the moon phases. This is where you decide if you want to plant your garden by the frost dates, or on the moon phases schedule.
Planting by frost dates
Planting by the frost dates works as follows.
Each location has an average first and last frost date. The first last frost date is the average date that your area is expected to get its final frost in the spring. The first frost date is the average date that your area is expected to get a frost in the fall.
To know when to plant your crops in the spring, you would note which plants to start indoors and how long ahead of the last frost date. Calculate the days ahead of your frost date and mark on your calendar to start the seeds indoors.
To know when to plant your crops in the fall, you would note how long the crops take to mature, and count backwards from your first frost date. This will ensure that the plant has enough time to mature before the first frost arrives in your area in the fall.
Planting by moon phases
Planting by the moon phases is based on the main 4 quarters of the moon: new moon, first quarter, full moon, third quarter. It works as follows.
Moon gardening calendar
Each moon phase benefits certain crops.
Plan your garden calendar so that you are planting your crop when the moon’s gravitational pull is to the advantage of the crop.
Garden planting calendar
When I am preparing my garden’s planting calendar, I start with blank calendars of the gardening months: February – October. If you don’t have a calendar or scheduler, print a free copy of my guided Garden Plan eBook. I included blank calendar’s that you can use for your garden planting calendar.
I note on the calendar the date ranges predicted by the Almanac to be the best times to start my seedlings indoors, transplant them, or direct sow them outdoors.
For example, your list from the Almanac will look like this:
This list is so helpful, because it gives me a place to start. When you start your garden plan and make a calendar to plant easily, you set yourself up too plant the best garden you have ever had!