Gardening in January

  • Work with appropriately sized houseplants in the sink or bathtub for a thorough cleaning and water the soil with plain water several times to leach out fertilizers and salt.
  • Recycle Christmas greens and boughs by using them as insulation over perennial beds.
  • Remember to keep winter-watering outside, once a month.
  • Brush snow from evergreens and any shrubs that become heavy to prevent breakage and damage.
  • If trees and shrubs need to be sprayed for insects, use a dormant oil spray now to kill overwintering pests while the plant does not have leaves. Apply according to the label.
  • Apply or re-apply anti-dessicants, such as Wilt Pruf, to evergreens and tender plants to keep them from drying out, especially broadleaved evergreens.
  • Take time to repair and maintain garden tools and equipment. Sharpen pruners and mower blades, check tool handles for replacement, and clean/sterilize reusable pots.
  • If ordering seeds, do not wait until late in Winter as many popular varieties sell out early, and January is National Mail-Order Gardening Month!
  • Bring in any pictures or notes you have regarding changes and improvements for your gardens and we can provide helpful suggestions.

Gardening in February

  • Get ready to do indoor seeding. Make sure you have flats and trays, germination planting mix, and grow lights. Some plants are slower growing and may be started by the end of February.
  • Continue to monitor houseplants for pests, and treat appropriately.
  • Apply Superphosphate for lilacs, peonies, and irises, following the package directions.
  • Look for the first harbingers of Spring, such as early Crocus, Snowdrops, and Iris danfordiae. If it is still very cold, they may not appear until March.
  • Brush off accumulations of snow from evergreens and shrubs to prevent broken limbs and damage.
  • Apply dormant oil spray if you need to control pests overwintering on trees or shrubs. Apply according to the label before they start leafing out.
  • Continue to water twice a month through Winter. We need to get at least 10” of wet snow in order for precipitation to count as a watering.
  • Bring in any pictures or notes you have regarding changes and improvements for your gardens and we can provide helpful suggestions.

Gardening in March

  • Start your warm-season seeds indoors, like tomatoes and peppers.
  • Remove tree wrap from trees before they leaf out. Depending on which trees you have, leafing out may occur by the end of the month or the beginning of April.
  • Apply superphosphate for maximum flower performance around lilacs, peonies, and irises, but not if you’ve done so already in February and follow directions for application.
  • Continue to water twice a month on any nice sunny day above 40º F. Redrain hoses when you are finished. We need to get 10” of wet snow in order for it to count as a watering.
  • Cool-season crop seeds may be planted outside when soil temperatures are above 50º F, usually between St. Patrick’s Day and the end of the month.
  • Bring in any pictures or notes you have regarding changes and improvements for your gardens and we can provide helpful suggestions.

Gardening in April

  • Sow seeds indoors for warm season vegetables, including tomatoes, pumpkins, and peppers.
  • Enjoy blooming Easter Lilies inside until the weather warms up, and then plant them outdoors. Most varieties are perennial here and will normally bloom in late summer.
  • After a long, cold winter, help your compost heat up with Dr. Earth Compost Maker or Soil Activator. Start turning your compost regularly, about every two to four weeks.
  • Get your lawn ready by aerating and applying soil activator. Irrigating first will allow the aerater to sink deeper into the soil and remove a full length plug. Do not clean up the plugs, but wait for them to break down and will eventually fill in the plug holes again as they scatter in smaller pieces.
  • Apply an organic granular lawn fertilizer, such as Pro Rich, and then every 4-6 weeks until Fall.
  • Start fertilizing with an organic granular fertilizer, like Gro Rich or Foxfarm, only if plants are showing active growth.
  • Amend soil in garden beds with Cotton Boll Compost or Happy Frog Soil Conditioner to prepare for flower and vegetable plants.
  • Plant seeds outside for cool season vegetables, like carrots, lettuce, spinach, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, onion sets and seed potatoes. Keep frost cloth handy for cold nights under 40º.
  • Plant bare root plants, like rhubarb, asparagus, and strawberries.
  • Sow wildflower seeds.
  • Plant frost hardy pansies, diascia, primrose, callibrachoa, and osteospermum. Watch for nights under 40º, as frost will ruin flowers that have opened.
  • Cut back herbaceous perennial plants that have dead stems and spent flowers remaining from last Fall.
  • Woody perennials, such as blue mist spirea and Russian sage, need only to be trimmed to remove last year’s flowers stems and for shape, or if there are any dead or broken branches.
  • Prune out any dead branches and rose hips off of roses, as well as any dead branches and twigs out of trees and shrubs.
  • For trees and shrubs with persistent pest problems, apply a systemic insecticide for a year’s worth of protection. Of course, this is not for use on fruit producing plants or anything edible, and beware of flowering plants that may harm bees gathering the poisonous pollen. For an organic option, apply a dormant oil spray with neem to suffocate insects that have over-wintered.

Gardening in May

  • Wait to transplant or direct sow warm weather crops, such as tomatoes, peppers and beans, until the last chance of frost has passed. May 15th is officially the average last day of frost. You may plant earlier if using walls of water or if using pots which may be brought inside on cold nights.
  • Be prepared to cover and protect plants in the event of late frosts. You may cover with frost cloth or bring pots inside, but continually be on the watch for cold weather patterns.
  • Thin crops that were started from seed, like root vegetables, lettuce, and smaller plants that won’t be productive. Consult your seed packet for details, as spatial recommendations vary.
  • Insert plant supports around any plants that cannot stay upright through the growing season now while they are small and manageable, allowing them to grow upward and into the structure. Supports are commonly used on peonies, tomatoes, tall penstemon, hollyhocks, and tall delphinium.
  • Fertilize all roses, perennials, annuals, and lawn areas with a slow-release granular fertilizer, and then continue to fertilize every 4-6 weeks until the end of summer. Memorial Day is a good marker to serve as a reminder for fertilizing.
  • After spring flowering shrubs have finished blooming, such as forsythia and lilac, fertilize with a granular fertilizer, such as Gro Rich Rose and Perennial.
  • After your Spring bulbs have finished blooming, fertilize with a granular fertilizer and give them a foliar feeding, which will re-energize them to bloom for the next year. An excellent granular fertilizer would be Happy Frog Bulb Food. It is important to allow the leaves to yellow and die back on their own before cutting them off.
  • Freshen mulch around trees to maintain 3-4 inches of depth. This will block weeds as well as reduce water loss, but is not so deep as to suffocate any shallow roots.
  • Aerate any lawn areas. Irrigating first will allow the aerator to sink deeper into the soil and remove a full length plug. Do not clean up the plugs, but wait for them to break down and eventually refill the plug holes again as they scatter in smaller pieces.
  • If any trees or shrubs are prone to insect infestations, apply a horticultural oil spray before they have leafed-out, which will suffocate any insects that have overwintered on the plant.
  • Prevent infestations in lawns and garden beds by applying a granular pre-emergent herbicide, creating a barrier and preventing weed seeds from germinating.
  • Water plants according to cultural requirements. When you do water, give them a good, deep drink and then allow to dry to their standard before you water again.

Gardening in June

  • Many houseplants will thrive outside in a protected area throughout the summer. Slowly introduce them to more sunlight to avoid burning the leaves.
  • Add herbs and veggies to annual containers and perennial beds, as they can add color, fragrance, and are conveniently functional.
  • Plant sweet corn and bean seeds outside. Successively plant fast crops such as lettuce and cilantro to keep harvesting.
  • Thin crops that were started from seed, like root vegetables, lettuce, or smaller plants that won’t be productive. Consult your seed packet for details, as spatial recommendations vary.
  • Plant fruits and veggies from plant starts to jump start the season.
  • Plant annuals to brighten containers and fill gaps in perennial beds.
  • Plant perennials in flower beds to give color all season. Also use perennials in containers and then plant them in the ground in Fall.
  • Fertilize all roses, perennials, annuals, and lawn areas with a slow-release granular fertilizer, and then continue to fertilize every 4-6 weeks until the end of summer.
  • Remove weeds before they go to seed, and put down pre-emergent herbicide and mulch to help keep weeds from germinating.
  • Be on the watch for discolored, chewed on, bug infested, and non-prolific plants as there are many environmental variations that affect our gardens. If you are not sure what is going on, don’t guess and don’t over-fertilize, and please bring in a sample to our helpful staff for a diagnosis and solution!
  • Water plants according to their cultural requirements. When you do water, give them a big, deep drink, and then allow them to dry to their standards before you water again. Moisture meters can be particularly helpful if you’re not sure how dry your soil is.

Gardening in July

  • Plant crops for Fall, especially those which will take longer from seed. You may also use plant starts at this time.
  • Clean up and remove any Spring bulb foliage that has died back.
  • Spruce up flower beds and containers with annuals and perennials.
  • Deadhead spent flowers on annuals and perennials to extend their bloom time.
  • Fertilize all annuals, perennials, and lawn areas with a slow-release fertilizer every 4-6 weeks. The 4th of July is a nice to use as a reminder for fertilizing.
  • Continue to remove weeds before they go to seed.
  • Watch for pest problems, discolorations, and unhealthy plants. Bring a sample to our friendly staff for a diagnosis and a solution.
  • Regularly check all plants for water. Water deeply and thoroughly as needed.

Gardening in August

  • Pick fast-growing crops every day or two to help promote continued production, especially for cherry tomatoes, green beans, squash, and zucchini.
  • Plant crops for Fall, either from seed or with plant starts. Cool season crops include carrots, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and more.
  • Spruce up planters and beds with cool-loving annuals to give you color all through Fall.
  • Stake any tall flowers to keep upright.
  • Keep deadheading flowers to extend their blooming time. If you have some re-seeding perennials that you want more of, leave some spent flowers to allow seeds to mature.
  • Fall is an excellent time for planting perennials. When the ground is warm and the air is cool, root growth is stimulated.
  • Plant mums and asters for great Fall color.
  • Start planting bulbs at the end of the month for color in the Spring. Think tulips, daffodils, crocus, and more!
  • Apply a slow-release granular fertilizer to your perennials and shrubs around mid-month. This should be the last fertilizing of your roses.
  • Continually control weeds to keep populations down next year, especially before they've produced seeds.
  • Keep on the watch for pests and pest damage for early detection and prevention.
  • Keep mowing the grass at least once a week, and don't cut too low. Maintaining a height around 3-4" will allow the grass blades to keep their roots cool and help retain moisture.- Lessen watering of shrubs and roses esp. in preparation for dormancy.
  • Regularly check all plants for water. Water deeply and thoroughly as needed.

Gardening in September

  • Bring houseplants and tropical plants inside before a frost. Check them thoroughly for pests and treat before integrating them into your house.
  • Continue with Fall crops. Water and feed regularly, and perhaps cover if there is an early snow.
  • Start raking, and watch for leaves carrying disease and pests. Do not compost any unhealthy leaves.
  • Fall is a great time for planting, and hardy mums are great for late season color.
  • Plant bulbs now for color in the Spring, including tulips, and deer-resistant daffodils, crocus, allium, and others.
  • Plan to fertilize your perennials, shrubs, and lawn areas one last time here in the Fall. Be especially sure not to fertilize roses again after this, as they need to settle into dormancy. Labor Day is good to use as a reminder for fertilizing.
  • Aerate your lawn. Give a good drink a day or two beforehand, and then give the last fertilization of the year afterwards. Leave the plugs where they are so they may break down naturally and loosely refill the holes, or you may mulch them up with your lawn mower and leave where they are.
  • Freshen mulch layers and add more to thin areas to have adequate Winter protection.

Gardening in October

  • Plant cold season crops, including garlic, lettuce, spinach, carrots, and onions. Remember that October 15th is our average first day of frost, and while cool crops can handle the cold—they should still be covered to protect them from frost.
  • Be prepared to cover and protect plants in the event of early frosts. You may cover with frost cloth or bring pots inside, but continually be on the watch for cold weather patterns. Check plants for insects before bringing them indoors and treat them first to prevent infestations and spreading to houseplants.
  • Before hard frosts and long periods of freezing weather, harvest any fruits, vegetables, and herbs for processing and storage.
  • Freshen flower beds with color using mums, asters, pansies, and ornamental cabbage. You may also cut back any perennials and grasses if they are not attractive winter texture.
  • Plant fall bulbs now for color in the Spring, including deer resistant daffodils, allium, and hyacinths. Also sow wildflower seeds after several hard frosts for germination in the Spring.
  • Apply sulfur to the soil around shrubs and perennials to keep down powdery mildew, which overwinters in the soil, especially roses, lilacs, phlox, and in gardens for squash.
  • When raking up fallen leaves, be mindful of insect infestations and throw those leaves away. Do not compost them as the insects may overwinter and will re-infest if used again in the Spring.
  • Freshen mulch around trees, shrubs, and perennials up to 4-6 inches of depth. This will reduce water loss over winter.
  • Aerate any lawn areas. Irrigating first will allow the aerator to sink deeper into the soil and remove a full length plug. Do not clean up the plugs, but wait for them to break down and they will eventually fill in the plug holes again as they scatter in smaller pieces.
  • If any trees or shrubs are prone to insect infestations, apply a horticultural oil spray after the leaves have fallen, which will suffocate any insects that will overwinter on the plant.
  • Wrap young trees with tree wrap after the leaves have fallen, to protect against sun-scald from around Thanksgiving to Easter.
  • Spray tender evergreens with Wiltproof to keep them from drying out and browning, including euonymus, young spruce or pine trees, and rosemary.
  • Apply winterizing fertilizer to lawns at end of October will promote root growth through Winter. Halloween can be used as a reminder for the last lawn fertilization. Do not fertilize any perennials, roses, trees, or shrubs.
  • Drain the sprinkler system, but water trees, shrubs, and perennials once a month. Do this on days with temperatures over 40º and drain the system again when finished watering. Also, drain and disconnect hoses for winter storage.
  • Retire gardening tools for the season by cleaning off any rust, sterilizing, and sharpening.

Gardening in November

  • Monitor any plants brought inside for insects and treat them to prevent infestations and spreading to other houseplants.
  • Force spring bulbs in your refrigerator to grow indoors over Winter.
  • Spend time measuring bed space and drawing plans for new plantings in the Spring. Order seeds from catalogs or shop our 2011 seeds now for next year.
  • Start planning your vegetable garden for next Spring. Think about rotating crops and which supports and pots need fixing or replacing.
  • Finish planting fall bulbs for color in the Spring, including deer resistant daffodils, allium, and hyacinths. Be sure to use bulb food when planting to maximize performance when planting and again after blooming.
  • Amend garden beds with blood and bone meal and cotton boll compost to enrich soils for next Spring. They are organic and rich in nutrients.
  • Apply winterizing fertilizer to lawns if you have not already done so to promote root growth through Winter.
  • Shop for your amaryllis and paperwhites to be ready for indoor planting and have color for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  •  When raking up fallen leaves, be mindful of insect infestations and throw those leaves away. Do not compost them as the insects may overwinter and will reinfest if used again in the Spring.
  • Freshen mulch around trees, shrubs, and perennials up to 4-6 inches of depth. This will reduce water loss over winter and keep soil temperatures even. Straw is especially nice for mulching vegetable gardens.
  • If any trees or shrubs are prone to insect infestations, apply a horticultural oil spray after the leaves have fallen, which will suffocate any insects that will overwinter on the plant.
  • Wrap young trees with tree wrap after the leaves have fallen, to protect against sunscald from around Thanksgiving to Easter.
  • Spray tender evergreens with Wiltproof to keep them from drying out and browning, including euonymus, young spruce or pine trees, and rosemary.
  • Retire gardening tools for the season by cleaning off any rust, sterilizing, sharpening, and applying a light coat of oil.
  • Drain the sprinkler system, and drain and disconnect hoses for winter storage.
  • Water trees, shrubs, and perennials once a month. Do this on days with temperatures over 40º and drain the system again when finished watering.

Gardening in December

  • Think of gift ideas for people you know who are gardeners, like tools with gloves and seed packets. If you’re uncertain what they need or want, gift certificates are sure to satisfy.
  • Start paperwhites inside. Groupings look best, but even singly, they combat our winter blahs and are cheerful.
  • Patrol your houseplants for unwelcome pests, especially if you've brought some in from outside.
  • Spread out evergreen boughs for insulation over your perennial beds.
  • Decorate doorways and patios with seasonal color and evergreen wreaths and garland.
  • Use evergreens and incense cedar boughs and garland to decorate indoors for wonderful fragrance.
  • Continue to plan for Spring plantings and be ready for starting indoor seeds in February and March.
  • Remember to winter-water twice a month throughout the Winter, and re-drain your hoses when you are finished.