If you’re a novice gardener, you’ll need to know what your gardening zone is before you can start planting. What’s a zone? It’s a number that tells you which plants will thrive in your area at which times of the year. You can find zone information at sites like Better Homes and Gardens online at http://www.bhg.com. Look on the map and you’ll find your area along with its zone. You’ll also find this information on most seed packets or plant starts in the nursery. Understanding where you are is an absolute must to developing that perfect green thumb.
Create a calendar for yourself, and you’ll know which plants will grow best at which times of the year. Once you know your zone you can devise a year-long gardening calendar that works for you. No two gardeners have exactly the same plans or tasks ahead of them, so create a calendar based on what you like and what you need to accomplish.
Get a blank calendar template off the web at a site like http://www.great-printable-calendars.com/. Print out each month in a format that you like. Make sure there’s room enough to write so that you can jot notes about what you want to do in your garden.
It is going to be up to you to research your zone and find out exactly which activities to add and which plantings need to go in the ground at certain times. But you can easily look up a favorite plant—for instance daffodils—and see that you should plant them in late fall and expect them in early spring. That will go for most areas. But specialized plants that are affected by climate will need more research.
Here are some examples you might add to your gardening calendar.
Feed birds and set out water in a bird bath
Start plants indoors for early spring planting
Start looking through seed catalogs and ordering
Visit garden shop for planting suggestions
Get ideas for flower beds
Start any cool season vegetables outside
Get strawberries, grapes and strawberries planted
Prepare the soil
Start planting frost-hardy vegetables
Trim back bushes
Start planting flowers
Get the rest of the plants in the ground
Mulch and weed garden
Buy discounted plants at garden center
Start harvesting vegetable and fruit
Take care of any garden pests or diseased plants
Water early so sun doesn’t bake off water
Continue to harvest vegetables and fruits
Put together nice fruit gift baskets for friends or family
Can fruits and vegetables in abundance
Start saving seeds you can use again from annuals
Label any seeds that are saved after drying them
Continue to can vegetables
You can see how you can add tasks by month. For the fall, depending on your area, you might want to include the covering or bringing in of plants that can’t stand the cold. You may also want to plant bulbs that will bloom in spring and dig up and store any of the less hardy bulbs that need to come indoors. Other tasks would include putting your garden to bed and cleaning your gardening tools for the winter.
Because each zone is unique, research the facts for what needs to be done in your area. You’ll be able to tell a lot by the zone you’re in.