Knowing when to plant isn’t always easy and it varies by where you live and what kind of weather you have. Like so many other things, there is a lot of information available about when to plant and some of it conflicts. Let’s look at a few of the ways to determine the best time to plant…
First of all, when to plant can really depend on what you are planting. You don’t want to plant 90 day jack-o-lantern pumpkins in April unless you are planning on fall decorating in July. You will need to check on the back of the seed packet to see how long it takes from planting to harvest. Some seeds will need to be started indoors before spring so that you will be able to enjoy their bounty during the optimal time of summer.
If you read the back of most seed packets, you will see a map of planting zones. Find your state on that map and the zone that it falls into. This will tell you the best time to plant your seeds for your area. If you aren’t planting seeds, you can read the plant tag that should be in the pot your plants come in. Usually this will tell you to plant when there is no longer a chance of frost. Each zone has a last frost date. You can easily look up your frost date online or ask a knowledgeable garden center employee.
Another way to know when to plant is by using the moon phases. You can generally find a calendar (either online or from your garden center) that will tell you when the best time to plant based on the phases of the moon and the zodiac calendar. This is a very old, tried and true method to get the most out of your garden. In fact, this method is used to determine the best time to do many things from cutting hair to fishing to castrating animals. If you are planning on organic gardening, this method goes hand in hand with it.
Always keep in mind that you will not be planting everything in your garden at once. Some things, like radishes, onions, beets, peas and potatoes, like the cool temperatures of early spring. Other vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, squash and green beans like the more moderated temperatures of mid-spring. You planting may be spread out over a month or more. Don’t get in a big hurry to get it all done. You will be have a more enjoyable gardening experience if you plant everything at the proper time. You will also enjoy more bounty from your garden.