Garden Planning: It’s All About When

| 5/5/2009 2:31:06 PM

Tags: garden planning, timing,

garden planningMany lawn and garden plants are pretty resilient, so maybe you don't worry too much about knowing the exact right time to take care of each and every garden task. But you will undoubtedly achieve the best results, the biggest harvest, the prettiest flowers, the least disease problems (you see where I’m going…) by paying attention to timing. Knowing when to plant, water, weed, fertilize, mulch and harvest can get pretty overwhelming when the season’s in full swing, so here are a few resources to help with garden planning. Now, go out and grow your best garden ever!

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barbara pleasant_3
7/15/2011 7:44:04 AM

Sandy, you can grow cilantro in spring and fall. It's a come-and-go plant in spring, staying in perfect condition for only a few days before bolting. In fall it bolts much slower, if at all. Another tip is to keep sowing, a few seeds each week, so you always have young cilantro plants coming on. The flowers attract beneficials, so I let it bloom and shed seeds. It's naturalized in my garden now, hope you get to that point someday, too.

sandy starbuck
7/8/2011 10:17:51 AM

I live in a wooded area and maintain a 4 foot compost bin that provides me with rich compost. I successfully grow vegetables, flowers and herbs (which I also dry and enjoy all winter). But cilantro continues to baffle me. I realize our brutal midwest summers are quickly too hot for cilantro leaves to survive, but a sunny indoor window (in an air conditioned room) didn't work either. I may add sand to the soil and give it another try both indoors and outdoors with afternoon shade. Any other ideas? How can I successfully grow cilantro leaves in the midwest?

2/26/2010 7:35:46 PM

TA - you said it all! My mom raised two boys pretty much alone. My brother and I had the job of taking care of the garden. But, as with you, I did not appreciate a garden until I grew up and had my own experiences with the savings, quality food and therapy. I now tend a garden that is 140 ft. wide by over 200 ft. long and have learned how to can. The feeling one gets at the end of a season when looking at all those jars of can goods sitting on their shelves and knowing that you yourself grew, harvested and preserved it is totally indescribable.

cindy conner
2/26/2010 11:48:38 AM

Knowing when to plant, when to harvest, and for how long is often pretty confusing for many gardeners. If you can plan carefully, you can know ahead when that part of the garden will be ready for the next crop. In January I released my new DVD Develop a Sustainable Vegetable Garden Plan. In that video I show you how to put together a notebook with your complete garden plan. The worksheets I explain are on the companion CD that comes with the DVD. Some are even in Excel. I honed my garden planning skills when I was a market gardener. I wish I had this information when I was starting out. I have since taught at a community college for over 10 years and this DVD contains the garden planning information that I teach. More information is at Although I live in Virginia, the worksheets help you plan your garden anywhere. Cindy

todd reece
1/20/2010 11:22:31 AM

My parents gardened back in the 70's. It wasn't a small little garden, but a huge suburban backyard sized behemoth... I didn't appreciate that experience til I was an adult and learned how expensive and harmful our current diet is. Anyways, from that experience, my wife and I (and kids) have had several locations on our property where we've located our gardens. None were really good, either because of soil quality or sun exposure (surrounded by 60 ft trees)... We did ok in some locations with some plants. Our tomatos did great, some potatoes did good, and we got some cucumbers and squash. 2 years ago, we went to a 8x48 raised bed garden which has done wonderfully. Being able to custom make the soil has made a big difference. We are now nearly tripling that capacity in order to plant 30 strawberries and transplanting another 15 s-berry plants. We can expand our grape plant area as well. The more things go downhill in energy and finance, the more food will cost. Growing your own not only does the body good, it does the soul good.

criss kraus
6/22/2009 12:50:04 PM

If you live in the desert - sunken bed or protected bed and waffle/dry gardening is the best choice. It traps what little water does come naturally and reduces the manual watering needed. It protects your plants from the dry, moisture sucking wind as well. Plus you can plant early and easily cover the seedlings with trash bags until the last frost. I have also found that doing this in the desert, along with companion planting reduces the need for fertilizers, pesticides and other soil arguments. So raised bed may not work everywhere but companion planting will!!!

sr davis
6/2/2009 8:43:57 PM

make raised bed gardens and then do lasagna gardening. I started gardening three years ago from seed and have been amazed at the success I have had. I use all kinds of recycled containers for my seeds - yogurt cups, tin cans, take out containers, milk cartons and jugs - after the seeds are the size of what I would buy at the garden center I plant them in my beds. Raised beds are the best thing in the world - I use landscape timbers and pieces of rebar instead of nails. I add cardboard and newspaper on the bottom (no tilling!) and then layer grass clippings, yard waste, veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds - lots of good compost and then organic gardening soil I purchase and I have not lost one thing I planted! The next year the soil is even better! I plant marigolds all in between and around the beds and have no bugs! I grow beans, squash, tomatoes, carrots, okra - anything you can think of I am growing! It is so rewarding to grow from seed and doing raised lasagna gardening is the only way I will ever go!

5/27/2009 7:10:35 PM

Brenda, Sounds like you have poor soil. Don't waste your time trying to amend it if you only want a few plants. Get 4 pieces of 8 inch lumber from the garden center. Build a square box with the lumber using some exterior screws on top of the ground you have. Fill it with compost, topsoil, and/or compost/manure. Don't use only topsoil, add plenty of compost. Mulch leaves,grass clippings, and household veggie scraps are great nutrients. Add these as top dressing all year long as you have them available and mix them up well in the Fall. I promise your plants will grow just fine in this kind of raised bed and the soil will stay soft and not require tilling, just a little mixing up each year to loosen. Start small and good luck.

brenda stewart
5/22/2009 9:24:46 PM

i tried planting some tomatoes andcucumberplants. i also planted 2or3 squash plants. all i got off of it was 2 tomatoes and 2 cucumbers. it was such a sad little garden. i told my mom i would just get it at the farmers market until i try to figure out what i did wrong.

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