Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2009 Planting Timeline

Much, much thinner lettuce planting. Make seed tape.

Inspired by Skippy's Vegetable Garden, I made a timeline to use for my spring planting, using May 15th as a last frost date. You may recall the garden plan I made.

I sow very little indoors, since I don't have room to keep seed trays warm and lit. Indoors, I will only be starting cukes, squash, pumpkins, and sunflowers, close to when they can be set out. Plus, the few cabbage I got from the seed swap. I need to research how to grow the 10 Egyptian Walking Onion sets.

I am sure this timeline will get tweaked before spring:
Winter: Order seeds. Collect winter sowing containers and potting soil. Make SWC's out of 5-gal buckets. Keep worms busy making fertilizer. Make "seed tape" out of paper towels for carrots, beets, greens, onions. Scavenge more fishboxes.
March 7: Winter-sow basil, thyme, oregano, annual flowers in milk jugs.
March 14: Buy onion sets at Glick's and plant at Mom's.
March 28: Sow romaine, greens, and spinach in fishboxes. Sow peas in home garden.
April 11: Get hay bales set up at Mom's yard. Fill raised bed for sweet potatoes and screen from groundhogs. Spring clean-up. Talk to neighbor about mushroom soil for Mom's.
April 18: Sow beets, carrots, greens in home garden. Sow onion seeds at Mom's.
April 25: Sow cucumbers, sunflowers, squash indoors. Transplant herb and flower starts to pots.
May 2: Buy transplants of eggplant, zucchini, celery, peppers, parsley at Glick's. Buy brassica transplants and sweet potato sets at Kutztown auction. Look for calendula transplants, and chocolate mint. Try not to be seduced by tomato plants.
May 16: Set out cucumbers (in hay bales) and sunflower plants at Mom's. Sow more romaine and greens in fishboxes.
Memorial Day: Set out eggplant, zucchini, celery, peppers in SWCs at home. At Mom's: transplant watermelon, pumpkin, and winter squash in hay bales. Plant sweet potato sets in raised beds.

Edit: I just found out that June 3rd is called "Bean Day" by local farmers so that is when we will plant all our beans.

June: Sow more basil in pots. Sow beans in home garden. Plan fall planting timeline. Watch for more herbs at transplant clearance sales.
Note: SWC = Self-Watering Container.

Consider this year: Depending how things are going with the food coop, take orders for vegetable transplants from Glick's, close to Memorial Day.

Contact my 4 neighbors that have neglected the concrete planters in front of their houses, and ask if I can plant them with mint or other herbs and flowers.

Consider next year: Order bulk seed, onion sets, and potato sets to resell through coop. Have workshop to demo building SWCs, worm farms, and make seed tape.

Just one zuke, in a SWC, covered in nylon netting to
thwart the squash vine borers, with manual pollination.
Maybe a second plant at Mom's.


Maureen said...

Another great list idea (and I'm not nearly as anal as I sound :)

May I ask what gardening zone you are in...and out of curiosity, how far are you from Mechanicsburg? (My brother and family just bought a house there after living in Okinawa for 15 years)

Matriarchy said...

I am about 90 minutes from Mechanicsburg - they are near Harrisburg, the state capital, and I am further east toward Philadelphia.

I am in Zone 6B. They might be in 6A, and their last frost date might be slightly later. They should be able to check with their county Penn State Cooperative Extension office to get good info for their area.

Maureen said...

I'm sending them a link to your blog...my SIL is very interested in starting a garden this spring and I think you could be a big help to them.


Matriarchy said...

I used to be a big perennial flower gardener, and this is only my third year of food gardening, but I am happy to have other people to stagger along with me!

I think every gardener is on their own, to some extent - different soil, sun, layout, food preference, micro-climate, and just plain luck! I have loved exploring garden blogs and websites for tips and inspiration.

She can contact me through gmail with the email name "matriarchy". Geez, its a pain the way spammers keep us from just typing our email addresses.

fullfreezer said...

I'm impressed!!! I'm nowhere as organized as this. The indoor plantings I can schedule but the outdoor stuff- last year we were 2 weeks later than usual getting into the garden- not because of cold but because of excess rain. I hope you can stick to your schedule. I'm have always been more of a fly by the seat of my pants gardener but I think this year may change that. We're anticipating relying much more heavily on our own food this year.

Verde said...

I have been thinking of the garden and realizing it may just be time to order seeds and set up a rack for pots and things.

I wonder if the cats will allow them or toss them to the ground?mmm

Matriarchy said...

Oh, I am usually MUCH more casual about planting. But I feel like I *should* try to have a plan, and this is that plan. LOL

I usually don't think about fall planting until it's too late to start things. I buy transplants and then don't get the into the ground fast enough. I am going to TRY harder. :-)

I suck at indoor gardening. Seriously suck. So, I buy more transplants than other people might, and only plant seeds that go right in the ground, rather than those the need to be started indoors. I will try starting squash and cukes this year, close to when they go out, so I have less time to kill them.

Matriarchy said...

Wow - if you want to see a detailed garden planning process, check out this post at Farm to Philly: http://farmtophilly.com/index.php/site/comments/garden_planning/

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is fabulous. And now I have questions...where do you get the fish boxes? From markets after the fish have been sold or did you purchase them specifically for the garden? Folks sell fresh sea food down here all over the place and this might be an interesting avenue to explore.

Also, the self-watering containers. How did you make them? Did you use a specific online tutorial or is this a gardening skill that you already knew? I've tried planting vegetables in large pots but have really struggled with their survival. The hot climate down here is part of it I'm sure, but also user error to a large degree. Anyway, I'm inspired.

Also--cheese ends are wonderful! I'd bet that'll be some awesome fondue. And $2 a lb can't be beat. The closest I've come is $4/lb at BJs--pretty run of the mill cheddar.

Maureen said...

Do you have a garden guide for the East Coast? We have Sunset for the Western US....it's the definitive garden guide when it comes to zones and planting times etc. I use it as a reference all the time.

Matriarchy said...

Lauralynne, I get my fish boxes from a fish market, used. "Free" is my middle name. I just ask and they save me a few. Salmon often seems to come in the big ones. If you know what day they get shipments, it makes it easy for them to say 'yes' to someone taking away their trash. I rinse them with the hose, and punch drainage holes in the bottom with a screwdriver.

I have not made my SWCs yet. I read a Yahoo group that supports users of homemade SWCs, and they have files full of instructions. Most people use 5-gallon buckets or 18-gal storage bins. I am probably going to use buckets from a bakery. I have struggled with regular watering in the past, so I am hoping this will help. Many SWCs users swear by it. I know there are Florida users on that list. You may also need something like shade cloth to filter some of that lovely hot sun.


I try to pay no more than $3/lb for bulk cheese. Buy-one-get-one-free sales are my best friend. But that never gets me local or fancy cheese. The $2 cheese ends are a bonus, but they will get moldy faster, having been handled more, so I will have to use them up.

Maureen, I don't have a specific all-purpose East Coast garden book. I do have bunch of others, and some online resources, and the Coop Extension Master Gardeners here, to help me muddle along. When in doubt, I just stick things in the dirt and see what happens!

Anonymous said...

I'm with the others, wow on the detail! I sometimes feel I don't know enough to really plan, in that I don't know the timings for things, what grows well together. I'm trying to do as much research as I can, but it seems that so much of the planting/growing process is experience. But I'm trying, and learning from you and the others who post their plans, and hope to get mine on the blog for input soon :-)

I'm thinking that transplants might also be a help to me, but how do you know which are the good/reliable companies to buy from? How well do transplants ship? Sowing spinach and other greens in March is such a sign of hope...

Matriarchy said...

I get my transplants from a local family-owned greenhouse, Glick's. Look for a local nursery near you. Not a chain that gets flats of plants shipped in, but one that grows their own. Try asking on GardenWeb.com, where they have state and regional discussion forums.

LisaZ said...

You are so far ahead of me! I don't get "in the mood" for garden planning in January like others do, more like in early March. This year we better get on it though if we want seeds!

Matriarchy said...

Oh man, if you are looking at the seed catalogs like I am, these are two good posts to read:

First, read Amy at 'Garden Rant', description of the Baker Creek Heirloom catalog. I have that catalog and it is the most beautiful plant porn.

Then, to keep yourself from ordering enough seeds to plant your whole town, read the post about seed shopping at 'A Way to Garden':

Bellatrix said...

I just love those fish boxes! Great idea.

You might want to move your bean planting day up a little. I'm 6b and just down Rt422 from you. I usually start my beans around April 25. Granted, I'm known for planting early and too closely together :).

manoj said...

Indoor grow lights
Cool! Good blog! I'll mention it in my next blogpost and it'll turn up on my new blogroll.