Growing Strong. A few caveats: Keep in mind that in Idaho what might have been true in March last year may not be true until May this versa!

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1 A few caveats: Keep in mind that in Idaho what might have been true in March last year may not be true until May this year - or vice-versa! versa! Always determine soil moisture levels before working your soil as recommended in any of the following guidelines. Growing Strong A Month-by by-month Garden Calendar for Southeastern Idaho There are almost as many opinions about garden issues as there are gardeners keep experimenting to find what works in your specific conditions.

2 A few caveats: On the calendar start start refers to starting seeds indoors in containers and planting out when conditions are suitable. On the calendar direct sow means planting the seeds directly in the ground. Embrace imperfection! Calendar categories Planning Maintenance Seed Starting Planting Soil Building Propagation Harvest and Food Storage Just for Fun!

3 JANUARY PLANNING Peruse garden catalogs Hot prospects: note season length, sunlight & water needs Get (or get out) garden notebook. Review notes from last year and start seed/plant list Evaluate last year's garden and research areas of concern or interest Inventory seeds Order seeds - the earlier the better - See our seed company list with links at Inventory seed starting supplies, order as needed Make garden plan. Remember to rotate your crops Set up garden calendar to identify planting times throughout the spring Johnny s Selected Seeds Interactive Calculators have handy tools for calculating the correct dates for starting, direct sowing and transplanting your seeds and plants, and much more. Go to Enter spring frost-free date (include year): Crop Number of weeks to start seeds before settingout date When To start inside 05/20/2011 mm/dd/yyyy Safe time to set out plants (relative to frostfree date) Setting-out date From To From To Artichoke 8 25-Mar on frost-free date 20-May Basil 6 15-Apr 1 week after 27-May Beets* 4 to 6 25-Mar 8-Apr 2 weeks before 6-May Broccoli 4 to 6 25-Mar 8-Apr 2 weeks before 6-May Cabbage 4 to 6 8-Apr 25-Mar 4 weeks before 20-May 22-Apr Cauliflower 4 to 6 8-Apr 8-Apr 2 weeks before 20-May 6-May Celery & celeriac 10 to 12 4-Mar 18-Mar 1 week after 27-May Collards 4 to 6 11-Mar 25-Mar 4 weeks before 22-Apr Corn salad/mache 4 to 6 25-Feb 1-Apr 3 to 6 weeks before 8-Apr 29-Apr Corn* 2 to 4 22-Apr 20-May 0 to 2 weeks after 20-May 3-Jun Cucumber 3 to 4 29-Apr 13-May 1 to 2 weeks after 27-May 3-Jun Eggplant 8 to Mar 15-Apr 2 to 3 weeks after 3-Jun 10-Jun Kale 4 to 6 11-Mar 25-Mar 4 weeks before 22-Apr Kohlrabi* 4 to 6 11-Mar 25-Mar 4 weeks before 22-Apr

4 As you re planning think about what makes the best use of your garden space but still is easy to navigate. JANUARY MAINTENANCE Watch trees for damaging snow loads Use sand or sawdust-based products to deal with icy spots near beds or lawn Single rows For our orderly gardeners this is a good time to clean, sharpen, and oil tools so they ll be ready to go when you need them Wide rows

5 JANUARY SEED STARTING Clean/disinfect pots and planters by soaking in a solution of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water for 1 hour. If you have salt deposits add 1 part vinegar and increase soak to 12 hours. Be sure you have good quality potting soil - do not use soil from the garden Do a germination test if seeds are old or were poorly stored Get your plant stand up, lights and timer connected, insulate from cold if necessary JANUARY PROPAGATION If you want to save seeds from some of your plants this season begin researching the plants and methods that you will need. Seed Saver s Exchange (seedsavers.org) is a good resource Sign up for the IFCGA seminar SEED SCHOOL in a DAY, a daylong exploration of seeds and seed saving with Bill McDorman and Casey O Leary on March 14, 2015

6 JANUARY HARVEST & STORAGE JANUARY JUST FOR FUN! Check on stored veggies Make garlic powder if garlic is starting to sprout Continue harvesting carrots, parsnips and leeks that are covered with straw in the garden Plant your own ginger plant indoors Cool- grown, super-early tomatoes can be started at the end of the month

7 FEBRUARY PLANNING Complete seed orders (including potatoes) Review January calendar to catch anything you missed Do some soil research - remember that you're feeding the soil, not the plant! Order or buy soil amendments so you have them on hand for next month FEBRUARY MAINTENANCE Good time to prune trees while still dormant (exceptions: maple and birch) Prepare beds that thaw early (near house or reflective wall) Cut back plants like geraniums that have been wintered over in the house Anticipate usual pests problems and be sure you have what you need on hand, i.e. cabbage butterflies will require either floating row cover or Bt spray

8 FEBRUARY SEED STARTING Check the garden calendar that you made last month to see what needs to be planted! Start onions, leeks, shallots Start seeds of annuals which require a long growing season, e.g. lobelia, petunia, snapdragon, etc FEBRUARY PROPAGATION Bring out bulbs forced in November, water and put in bright room Use the geranium cuttings to start plants for use outdoors later in the spring If you have a cold frame or greenhouse consider direct sowing cold tolerant greens towards the end of the month. Be prepared for hard frosts with row cover or blankets, etc!

9 FEBRUARY JUST FOR FUN! Start artichokes for planting out in walls o' water Start celery and/or celeriac seeds! MARCH MAINTENANCE Remove quackgrass, etc. by digging and extracting all its nefarious roots as soon as it emerges Install drip irrigation system as soon as soil is dry enough Divide perennials now through May - earlier the better but watch your soil moisture Remove heavy mulch from garden beds but do not work the soil until it has dried out enough to do ball soil test Remove dead stalks, etc. from last year's perennials Once soil dries adequately (use the ball test) break out the bio-fork* and start loosening soil and working in compost and soil amendments Apply soy-based dormant oil when buds start to swell but before they are open For the rest of us, search the garden for all the tools left out in the fall and check condition *More vigorous methods, like a tiller, may be necessary for a new garden site

10 MARCH SEED STARTING MARCH SOIL BUILDING Check the garden calendar that you made in January to see what needs to be planted! Start brassicas; cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, etc. Later in month is a good time to start most tomatoes Send off soil test if you're doing one Add soil amendments if snow is gone and soil is workable - otherwise wait until April Add compost to beds but do not work in if soil is still wet Turn the compost pile as soon as you can. Start a new one from the unfinished goodies in the current one. Compost pile

11 MARCH PLANTING Check planting calendar to see what needs to be started now Transplant rhubarb before it shows signs of new growth Direct sow peas, greens, radishes in protected beds near house or in cold frame. Be prepared to cover! Direct sow green, radishes and peas in the garden if you are feeling frisky! Be prepared to cover! If you started artichokes you may begin putting them out in walls o water at the end of the month. Be prepared to cover! MARCH HARVEST & STORAGE As weather warms complete harvesting of carrots, parsnips, and leeks Leave some parsnips in the ground if you want to collect seeds (biennial) Keep an eye on storage squash - process for freezer if necessary Set aside some healthy firm potatoes to start this year s crop

12 MARCH JUST FOR FUN! Try forcing flowering shrubs like forsythia, pussy willow, apple (protect from aridity and too much warmth) APRIL MAINTENANCE Keep ahead of weeds: remove perennials by digging, annuals by pulling or cutting off (before seeds form) Start sheet mulching pathways Remove mulch from roses and other flowering plants that were protected over the winter Remove old canes from raspberries Install support for peas with tall growth habit Get out your Cobrahead and keep it at your side for the next 5 months you ll use it for everything! Turn the drip system on and check for leaks or other problems

13 APRIL MAINTENANCE Keep ahead of weeds: remove perennials by digging, annuals by pulling or cutting off (before seeds form) Start sheet mulching pathways Remove mulch from roses and other flowering plants that were protected over the winter Remove old canes from raspberries APRIL SEED STARTING Check the garden calendar! Start peppers, eggplants Can start tomatoes as late as mid-april Late in the month is good time to start okra Install support for peas with tall growth habit Get out your Cobrahead and keep it at your side for the next 5 months you ll use it for everything! Turn the drip system on and check for leaks or other problems

14 APRIL SOIL BUILDING Put finished compost in beds as seeds and starts are planted Keep adding to the new compost, balancing greens and browns as much as you can Don t walk on your garden beds or any soil that you intend to plant As soil dries out sufficiently, cut down cover crop and turn it gently. Keep moist while it's breaking down APRIL PLANTING Check planting calendar to see what needs to be sown now Direct sow peas, greens, radishes, carrots, parsnips and other cool weather crops brassicas like turnips, rutabagas, etc Transplant brassicas late in the month. Direct sow other brassicas like turnips, rutabagas, etc Transplant onions, leeks Plant or transplant strawberries and raspberries Plant potatoes under straw later in the month

15 APRIL PLANTING APRIL HARVEST & STORAGE Allow at least a week to harden off transplants before planting out in the garden! Keep cutting your fall-sown spinach and greens to ensure longer harvest Compost all the old and moldy stored produce good start for next year s compost

16 APRIL JUST FOR FUN! Transplant those early tomatoes at the end of the month if you have walls o water or other serious protection (like a greenhouse) Be prepared to add additional cover if necessary MAY PLANNING Update your garden plan as necessary the better your notes are now the more helpful they will be when making decisions for next year Use your garden notebook to keep tabs on plant health, yield, flavor, harvest time, etc. throughout the summer - this will help you make more informed choices next season You ll love yourself when next season comes around!

17 MAY MAINTENANCE MAY SEED STARTING Keep ahead of weeds using your Cobrahead, a stirrup or regular hoe or winged weeder and copious quantities of organic mulch Keep sheet mulching pathways Start supporting tomatoes as needed Start tender herbs like basil Start cukes, melons, pumpkins, etc. 2-3 weeks before planting out To give warmth-loving annual flowers like zinnias, cosmos and marigolds a head-start you can start some this month

18 MAY SOIL BUILDING MAY PLANTING Turn compost and continue adding greens and browns. Water if necessary Continue to add compost and other soil amendments as necessary when planting Plant potatoes Direct sow beets, chard, kohlrabi, etc. Direct sow zucchini and other squash later in the month Continue with small plantings of greens, radishes, etc. every couple of weeks until weather is hot Stagger sowings of corn by 2 weeks or select varieties with different days to maturity to lengthen harvest (at least 4 x4 block of each type) Transplant tomatoes and peppers towards the end of the month. Be prepared to cover! Compost close-up

19 MAY HARVEST & STORAGE MAY JUST FOR FUN! Harvest your rhubarb and strawberries at their peak for immediate use, freezing or making jams or syrups Take a leisurely but attentive stroll in your garden at least a couple of times/week When harvesting lettuce and other greens cut to about 3" to encourage continued production

20 JUNE PLANNING JUNE MAINTENANCE Begin thinking about planting for fall harvest. Start by making a list of what you want to be harvesting come fall, i.e., greens, spinach, Napa cabbages, etc. Use Johnny s Selected Seeds Fall planting calculator to determine appropriate planting dates. Go to johnnyseeds.com Don't let weeds go to seed your diligence now will be rewarded a hundredfold! If cool weather crops are up and growing strong start mulching their beds Put up trellises or fences for climbing plants like beans, cukes Observe your plants carefully to catch early insects - hand pick or go to for solutions Keep your annual flowers deadheaded to encourage blooming Handy tool for planning fall harvest plant dates Provide support to tomatoes as needed

21 JUNE SEED STARTING JUNE SOIL BUILDING Everything can now go directly into the soil Towards the end of the month you can start lettuce seedlings to plant out in the coolest part of the garden in July If you are actively managing your compost pile turn it again. Keep tabs on the moisture level Some fall harvest plants may need to be planted this month use your fall harvest planting calculator to determine dates Compost pile

22 JUNE PROPAGATION JUNE PLANTING Begin monitoring plants that exhibit characteristics you want to preserve: vigor, taste, fragrance, etc. Mark plants to help identify them once it s time to collect the seeds Use the research you did to understand what kind of preparations are necessary to successfully save your desired variety of seeds Divide and replant Dutch irises once blooming is finished (add some compost, too) Sow more corn early in the month Direct sow annual flowers that like warmth like zinnias, cosmos, marigolds Continue with small plantings of greens, radishes, etc. every couple of weeks until weather is hot

23 JUNE HARVEST & STORAGE Thin carrots and beets. Steam baby beets for a delicious treat! Start watching peas when the pods have filled out they are ready to harvest (a lot of happy sampling may be required!) JUNE JUST FOR FUN! Try sowing some soybeans, lima beans, black beans, black-eyed peas or other dried bean varieties Build a scarecrow! Pick produce when prime to keep plants producing - donate excess to friends, neighbors or those in need

24 JULY MAINTENANCE JULY SEED STARTING Keep weeding this is the month when continued effort is the most challenging and the most important! Mulch warm weather crops as temperatures heat up an organic mulch will conserve moisture, suppress weeds, and eventually break down and enrich the soil Continue to start lettuce seedlings to plant out in the coolest part of the garden Start Chinese cabbage seedlings for fall harvest - plant out when they are 4 weeks old

25 JULY SOIL BUILDING JULY PLANTING Once garlic is harvested plant a succession crop of beans or a cover crop of buckwheat Monitor moisture level of compost and supplement if necessary Direct sow Chinese cabbage for fall harvest Once garlic is harvested plant a succession crop of beans or a cover crop of buckwheat Review June s fall planting schedule to see if other seeds need to be sown now

26 JULY HARVEST & STORAGE Start watching beans for harvestable size Watch early cabbage for signs of cracking and harvest if necessary Pull back straw on potatoes that have finished blossoming to check for usable tubers JULY JUST FOR FUN! Make apricot or other fruit leather Make a mosaic stepping stone or garden decoration with a little person Harvest fruit at its peak for drying, freezing, syrups, etc. (apricots, raspberries, cherries, and summer apples) Harvest garlic and hang in dry, shaded location to cure for 4 weeks

27 AUGUST MAINTENANCE Yes, weeding is still important! Ease off on the watering schedule Avoid evening sprinkling Keep touring the garden observe the web of life you are supporting! AUGUST SOIL BUILDING Once garlic is harvested plant a succession crop of beans or a cover crop of buckwheat Keep adding to the compost pile and monitoring moisture

28 AUGUST PLANTING Direct sow greens and cilantro for a fall crop As crops are harvested sow a summer cover crop in the empty beds (switch to a winter cover crop at the end of the month) AUGUST PROPAGATION If you are planning to save seeds now is the time to start monitoring the selected plants. Start with easy ones like lettuce, arugula, spinach, orach, beans, hollyhocks, tomatoes

29 AUGUST HARVEST & STORAGE AUGUST JUST FOR FUN! Harvest onions and dry for a couple of weeks in a dry, shaded location spreading them out on a screen in the garage works well Enter something in the Eastern Idaho State Fair check out funatthefair.com or call Continue to monitor and regularly harvest all of your crops for extended production

30 SEPTEMBER MAINTENANCE SEPTEMBER PLANTING You ll be sorely tempted - but don t stop weeding yet! Direct sow spinach for an early spring crop next year As plants quit producing move them into the compost pile Be prepared to cover frost-sensitive plants when (not if) temperatures drop As crops are harvested sow a winter cover crop in the empty beds

31 SEPTEMBER HARVEST & STORAGE Trim garlic and pack into mesh bags for storage in a cool dry location Trim onions and pack into mesh bags for storage in a cool dry location If it s been a good season you will now have plenty of tomatoes for canning, drying, or giving away! Select specimens of your best tomatoes and save the seeds The fall greens you sowed in August should be ready for cutting sometime this month OCTOBER MAINTENANCE Clean up garden weeds and other detritus compost as much as possible but be sure avoid rhizomatous or seedy weeds Remove any diseased plant material from the garden don t compost! Keep your eye out as the beds get emptied and seeded with a cover crop for weeds that camouflaged themselves among the other plants and went to seed. Carefully remove them. Put away trellises and other supports Pull up drip system, roll up individual lengths, tie and label for ease of reinstallation next season

32 OCTOBER PLANTING Plant garlic cloves in soil enriched with compost and other amendments as necessary Continue to fill in beds with winter cover crops or cover with chopped leaves, grass clippings, etc. To extend the harvest of fall crops use a double layer of row cover OCTOBER HARVEST & STORAGE Harvest winter squash, pumpkins, cabbages, etc. before hard frost (28 degrees F) Harvest cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and kale when temperatures are dipping below 24 degrees F For maximum storage life store produce in as cool and dry a location as possible Store tomatoes spread out in a single layer - plastic open-grid planting trays work well. Don't store in a bucket!

33 NOVEMBER MAINTENANCE Is there snow on the ground? Yes. Hooray! Now you can stop weeding! NOVEMBER HARVEST & STORAGE Cover the crops you want to winter over with of loose straw Bring in the last of the hardy brassicas

34 NOVEMBER JUST FOR FUN! Plant bulbs into pots for late winter forcing. Store in cold location for at least 12 weeks. DECEMBER JUST FOR FUN! Put garden books, tools, and supplies on your Christmas list (gift certificates for Peaceful Valley Farm supply are a real treat). Check out those early bird catalogs and scour the internet in anticipation of next year s adventure!

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