Not all plants are available
in different seasons. It would make no sense for Garden Centers to offer
Impatiens to Northern Gardeners in Autumn or Winter. Even plants that may
do well when planted in Autumn may not be popular with local Gardeners,
so it may be necessary to search for certain varieties if you are determined
to go against the flow.
Available time -
It doesn't matter how good the
time to plant, if you can't work it into your time schedule. You must plant
and garden when you have the time. So if you miss the best time to plant
a certain variety, then a second-best time must do. But go for it. The
exercise and feeling of satisfaction make it worth your effort even if
you experience crop failure.
Cost of Plants -
Early-season plants tend to
cost more. As the season advances and the stock is picked through, the
prices tend to be lowered by the Garden Center. There may still be very
good plants available at these lower prices, but the very best will probably
have been picked out.
Shrubs and Perennials may be
marked down by 75% as winter approaches. Your local X-Mart Dumpster
may even offer some healthy freebies if you are courageous enough to inquire
of the Garden Manager.
Moon planting -
Older Gardeners may "Plant by
the Moon". Books have been written about the benefits of planting different
crops in different phases of the Moon. Certain phases are said to be best
for Vegetables below the ground, or producing lots of Flowers, or producing
plants that stand more erect.
Even wooden shingles on a roof
are said to be affected by the Moon phase. We are taught that the ocean's
tides are influenced by the Moon. So read up and give it a try, the Moon
just might work for you.
Plant preferences -
Some plants such as Peas, may
prefer cool weather. Others may prefer lots of moisture. A Cactus may prefer
to bathe in warm sunshine. Plant or seed labels generally describe the
preferences. Try to follow the suggestions as closely as possible, considering
your particular circumstances.
Soil Conditions -
The soil must be at least workable.
You can't till frozen or soggy soil. So your soil conditions must be within
an acceptable range to allow you to pursue your hobby.
You may also want to amend
the soil before you begin tilling it. You can change the composition to
improve drainage, root penetration, moisture-holding ability, nutrient
level, PH factor, etc.
Weather can be your friend or
enemy, but seldom at the same time. A cold spring and an early Fall are
not great conditions for Tomato or Melon growers. A hot spring is hard
on Peas and the Cabbage family. A hot, dry summer may raise havoc with
your garden, as might a wet one. Feel fortunate if you get two good growing
seasons out of three.
Your desire -
Of course, you must have the
desire to garden. If your head hurts, or your feet are killing you, then
this may not be the best time to work a garden. On the other hand, the
feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment we get from puttering outdoors
in the soil may be just what your aches and pains need. So give it a try,
you just might throw away your pain pills.
Zone or locality-
You are limited with what and
when you can plant by the zone your garden is in. Citrus are not a good
choice for Northern Zones, and apples are not a good choice for Southern
zones. But if you like container planting, you just might find dwarf plants
that may put a smile on your face and a treat on your table.
Many perennials prefer warm feet
and cool heads. So it may be in their best interest to plant them in the
fall, when plants are discounted and there in minimal grass to mow. The
soil will still be warm enough to encourage root growth, but the air will
have cooled enough to minimize the dehydrating conditions of the hotter
Summer, and you can work without the straw hat and the insect pests.
Radishes or roses-
may not want to have a vegetable garden. Maybe you don't enjoy a great
Tomato, or digging Potatoes, or battling Bugs. You may be a prime
candidate for a Flower Garden. Or just some Planters on the Porch.
But however you do it, get out there
one of our most popular national pastimes;