If the city-dweller’s work organisation is carried out daily or weekly, the gardener plans the entire year’s work ahead of time. The gardener does not plan any break time, or day of meeting. Its activities are organized by season. A season can be for seeding, another for pruning, and another for the harvest. This organization follows an unchanging schedule: the garden’s calendar. 

From January to December, the gardening activities are planned according to plant development. Here is a list of these activities from one season to another. A program that remains unchanged from year to year.

Winter work 

Winter lasts from December 21 to March 21. Most crops are harvested in late fall, and perennials enter their dormant phase. They will only be active again in spring. This is an opportunity for the gardener to clean and store his tools. When the first snow fall, it’s time to start a series of verifications, the first of which pertain to the condition of stored fruits and vegetables. Early signs of decay must be detected and contaminated fruit must be done away with. One can, if necessary, spread protection products against pests or germination. It is essential to check the temperature, humidity and good air circulation in the storage cellar. Monitoring also takes place outside: check if the pond’s water surface is not completely frozen, as this could be fatal to aquatic life. Remove snow where it can potentially cause damage (such as breaking brittle tree branches). Also, check that the plants sensitive to the cold are adequately protected. Strengthen the mulch, or lay down a protective cover when the temperature drops below a certain threshold (50°F or 41°F, equivalent to 10°C or 5°C).

Winter is also the period of preparations. This is a research period during which one begins to plan the garden for the following season. A portion of greenhouse seedlings are also prepared at this time for early transplantation in spring. Potato seeds are also germinated in a dark corner stlightly heated. Plants that do not fear the cold, as well as spring flowers (violets, forget-me-nots, hyacinths, daffodils) are planted in winter. Shape pruning and regular pruning, of fruit trees notably, begin as early as January to prepare the plants for growth resumption in spring. We can also carry out a preventive spraying of Bordeaux mixture before the appearance of flower buds.

Spring work 

From March 21 to June 21, the garden, the vegetable garden and the orchard will be thrown into turmoil. The plants in the vegetable garden are arranged and amended early on. Once the days begin to be sunny, we begin sowing and transplanting the early varieties. The use of plastic tunnel houses reduces the effects of frost. There is still time to proceed to spring pruning (butterfly bush, deciduous Ceanothus, hibiscus) before the perennials begin to grow. It is also the time to take care of indoor plants. They can be brought out in the sun from time to time. The plants that have outgrown their containers are repotted. Orchard and garden plants are subjected to systematic fertilization. Once the water temperature rises above 50°F (10 °C), one can also gradually begin to feed the fish in the pond. The activities of the garden and vegetable garden gain in intensity from May 15, once the risks of frost is dismissed and the soil is warm enough to accommodate the cold-sensitive species. Spring is also the ideal time to begin new projects, such as the setting up of a body of water.

Summer work 

With the summer (from June 21 to September 21) come the sun and heat. The planting season which began in the spring, can last until summer for short-cycle crops like radishes. Plant maintenance is enhanced. Watering is regularly performed, especially during periods of heat and drought. The vegetables are large enough to be trained or earthed. In addition, proceed to mulching to keep soil moisture constant. Some plants may require protection against the sun. The early varieties are harvested as early as late spring and the harvest season lasts all summer. The hedges’ second pruning or topiary trimming both take place in August. It is also the ideal time period to carry out the taking of cuttings.

Autumn work 

Autumn, which lasts from September 21 to December 21, is the harvesting period. The storing of goods usually ends in November. An autumn pruning can be carried out after the flowering or fruiting period.  A final anti-pest treatment is applied before the plants enter dormancy. It is also the ideal time for planting spring-flowering plants. Raspberries, rose bushes and deciduous shrubs can also be planted in autumn, so as to take root before winter. It is important to prepare moderately hardy plants for the winter. Protect their base with a layer of organic mulch which will itself be covered with a plastic film. Bring in fragile plants in a cool greenhouse or apartment. The ground can already be prepared for plantations in winter or early spring.

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Published in Basics by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011