Organic Living Calendar

January Tips:

  • Check on dahlia, canna, and gladiolus bulbs for rotting and/or drying out
  • Prune away storm-damaged branches promptly to prevent tearing of the bark
  • Prune forsythia, pussy willow, quince, etc. for forcing indoors
  • Determine types and quantities of plants/seeds to order

February Tips:

  • Prune summer and fall blooming shrubs
  • On frigid nights continue to protect indoor plants from freezing; move them away from the glass or cover glass with thick newspaper or cardboard
  • Sow seeds of annuals which require a long growing season, e.g. lobelia, petunia, vinca, browallia, snapdragon, verbena, etc.
  • Check on winter plant protection; add mulch and adjust plant stakes as necessary

March Tips:

  • Plant cold weather vegetables like spinach, peas, lettuce, and broccoli as soon as soil is workable
  • Cut back ornamental grasses to new shoots
  • Prune late-flowering shrubs such as buddleia and Hydrangea paniculata but wait until after flowering on early-flowering shrubs like forsythia, Hydrangea macrophylla, rhododendron, and syringa
  • Carefully remove winter mulches from planting beds
  • Add compost in four to six inch layers and work into planting bed soil

April Tips:

  • Prune early spring-flowering shrubs immediately after flowers die.
  • Make sure to leave bulb foliage until yellowed to ensure beautiful blooms next year! ( my idea!)
  • Can begin dviding some late flowering perennials.
  • Re-seed bare lawn areas.
  • Place peony ring supports.
  • Plant out cool-season annuals like pansies and snapdragons

May Tips:

  • Dig and divide early-blooming perennials after flowering
  • Lift, divide, and replant late summer and fall-blooming perennial
  • Deadhead bulbs but allow foliage to remain until yellow to nourish bulbs for next year’s display
  • Sow seeds of corn, cucumber, and melon directly in the garden
  • Harden off tomato, eggplant, and pepper transplants before planting out at end of month
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as gladiolas and dahlias after last frost date
  • Take out houseplants as temperatures moderate; move to partially shaded, wind-protected location

June Tips:

  • Leave grass clippings on lawn to improve availability of nitrogen
  • Harvest cool-weather lettuce, radishes, and scallions
  • Sow seeds of heat-tolerant vegetables
  • Fertilize annuals and container plants
  • Set supports for floppy plants, vines, and vegetables

July Tips:

  • Deadhead annuals and perennials to encourage continuous bloom, and cut back any rampant growth
  • Lift, divide, and replant late summer and fall-blooming perennial
  • Remove any fallen leaves and debris that can harbor insect pests and disease organisms
  • Finish deadheading rhododendrons and lilacs
  • Continue to fertilize annuals and container plants each month
  • Leave nitrogen-rich grass clippings on lawn
  • Sow seed of lettuce, kale, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, and arugula for fall harvest

August Tips:

  • Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting
  • Plant out seedlings of cool vegetable plants for fall harvest
  • Shape and pinch back houseplants before returning them indoors
  • Check houseplants for insect pests and treat as necessary before bringing them in
  • Sow seed of late-harvest vegetables such as carrots, beets, and turnips

September Tips:

  • Complete ordering spring-flowering bulbs and other plants for fall planting
  • Plant and transplant broad-leaved and needle-leaved evergreens through October 15
  • Continue to divide and transplant early-blooming perennials
  • Divide daylilies after flowering

October Tips:

  • Compost fallen leaves and garden debris such as annuals and spent vegetable plants
  • Continue to plant spring-flowering bulbs; begin planting tulips before month’s end
  • Prune late-flowering shrubs and trees when dormant
  • Bring in all houseplants before frost

November Tips:

  • Cut back perennials to 4-5″, but leave ornamental grasses to provide winter interest until spring
  • Mulch flower beds to keep soil temperature stable and prevent winter injury from frost heaving
  • Continue to plant deciduous trees and shrubs until the ground freezes
  • Complete planting spring-flowering bulbs
  • Fertilize trees and shrubs before the ground freezes so that food is available to plants in early spring

December Tips:

  • After ground freezes, mulch perennial and bulb planting beds. The mulch will prevent heaving during the alternate freeze/thaw cycle
  • Avoid the use of salt to melt snow as it is toxic to most plants. Use sawdust, sand, or cat litter
  • Keep bird feeders filled throughout winter
  • Continue to protect shrubs from deer with burlap or netting
  • Hold off on fertilizing indoor plants until spring
  • Set up Christmas tree in a reservoir stand. Cut on a slant about 1″ above existing cut for optimum water absorption