Growing a vegetable garden is an exciting hobby that has a number of wonderful benefits. It is something that people all across the United States (as well as around the world) really enjoy doing, with delicious fresh veggies and fruits being the finished product. Your vegetable garden brings unlimited culinary possibilities your way. It is your choice of what to plant in your garden and you can rest assured that there are loads of choices available. From tomatoes and squash, to green beans and okra, a colorful and healthy veggie garden can be yours.
Of course, in order to maintain a delightful garden that grows all of these delicious foods, you need to do all that you can to take care of that garden. While it may require getting your hands dirty, the results are well worth the time and effort that you devote to the garden. The process of taking care of a splendid vegetable garden is something that must be done throughout the year, not just specific months on the calendar like so many people do.
The amount of work that needs to be put into the vegetable garden varies according to many factors, including the time of the year, the vegetables that you want to plant, and what you really want to get out of your garden. Here we will offer you a template month-by-month guide to a common vegetable garden, making it easier to take care of your garden and prepare for each month before it comes around.
Remember these are average rules for average climates. Your climate may be slightly different (or very different!) and your sowing and planting dates are better determined by the last frost dates of your area.
Why not make it your New Year’s resolution to become a better gardener? There are several things that you can do in January to ensure that you are a happy vegetable gardener come spring.
First, decide on the vegetables that you intend to plant this year. As we’ve already mentioned, there are endless amounts of vegetable choices available for you. Not only must you decide what you’ll plant, you also should determine how much of each vegetable that you will need to plant. Once these decisions have been made, it is time to order the seeds so you are well ahead of the other gardeners. You can also use this month to gather manure and compost for the garden if the weather will allow it.
January is also the perfect month to start seed for transplanting lettuce and onions later on. If you have fruit bushes, this is also a good time to prune them up.
In early February you can begin planting cauliflower, lettuce, and cabbage, should you decide these will be grown in your garden. Toward the end of the month, you can also plant celery, Brussels sprouts, and beets. During the month you should also start getting all of the gardening materials ready, including the beds and cold frames.
February is the time to take a peek at all of your gardening tools as well. If there are damaged tools or those in need of repair, beat the rush and have the repairs made at once.
If you’ve not already gotten your hotbeds and coldframes in place, March is the month to do it. Some of the seed planted in February will be ready to transplant to these frames, as well as the lettuce that you planted in January. You can begin to sow radish and carrot seed as well.
March brings mixed weather to most parts of the U.S., and this means you need to keep a watchful eye on those frosts and cold nights that are still possible. They’ll certainly cause hardship on your crops.
March is the start of early spring and the month can be used to determine if the ground is dry enough to plant your crop. If it is, you can begin sowing early carrots, leeks, turnips, cabbage, onions, beets, lettuce, and smooth peas. Asparagus is another vegetable that is ready to be sowed during the month.
Things are starting to take on a faster pace once spring and April have arrived. This is the month most of the remaining veggies on your plant list can be sown. Each day you should take a look at the frames and lift them off to help the crop receive sunshine. Make sure that you do not allow the soil to dry out at any time.
May is another exciting month in the life of a gardener. You should take special care to weed out your garden on a regular basis. If you do not, this can quickly become a big mess. Because May often brings with it a great amount of rain, these weeds quickly grow and harm your crops.
You can also plant corn, okra, and late potatoes during the month. It is also a good time to plant first tomatoes as well. During the latter part of May, you can begin to set out lima beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, peas, potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, and cucumber.
In the early month of June, you can sow beans, lima beans, wax beans, melons, cucumber, peas, spinach, and summer lettuce. You can also start setting out eggplant, peppers, and more. Make sure that you plant your seeds in dry soil and plant one vegetable each month. Save the end of June for celery and cabbage.
You should prune tomatoes and cut the excess foliage from them. During the month you should also top-dress all of your crops with compost. If you plan to plant fruits inside of your garden as well, make pot layers for strawberries for July.
The month of July means you need to prepare for frequent cultivation. You should set out all of your late vegetables around this month, including leeks, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower. You should also begin harvesting the already planted beans, beets, lettuce, radish, and cabbage that you’ve already set. Irrigate when it is needed.
Fruits such as blackberry, dewberry, and raspberry can also be planted.
Your vegetables should be growing very well by the month of August. This means you need to keep the garden clean of weeds, particularly purslane. If you want them, sow spinach, peas, rutabaga, and turnips for a fall crop. You can also put out late celery early in the month.
You can harvest lettuce that you started in August during this month. You can sow onions, radishes, and lettuce. When the cooler weather begins to start, you should begin deeper cultivation to keep them healthy.
During the month of September you should harvest onions that are ready and put all of your squash underneath cover before the first frost occurs. Between the 15th and the 25th of month, make sure that you sow spinach, onions, and kale for winter. You should also cover crops such as rye to the ground.
October is the month that you are going to need to prepare for winter to come. You should gather all of your tomatoes, summer crops, and melons so they are able to survive the winter months. You should sow in frames those quick-maturing, cool weather crops before the winter sets in. Protect all of your crops.
You should also store cabbage and cauliflower during the end of the month, as well as carrots, beets, and your other root crops. This month you should clean your garden, storing all of your tools and other items.
One of the tasks for November is to make deep hotbeds for winter lettuce and radish. You need to store celery for use in the spring, while also ensuring that all of the veggies stored in containers and sheds are free from freezing. Put all of the crops that remain unprotected on the ground into cold frames.
In December, you should cover the celery that you stored last month. You should also put mulch on kale and spinach. If you have planted strawberries, they should be mulched and grapevines should be pruned. You should also make sure you’re working your compost and adding to it.
Now January is almost upon us, and the cycle will begin again! Learn from any mistakes you made this year, and be a better gardener the next.