When to plant

There has always been much conjecture about the right time for planting. There are many factors which may influence your decision. Some of them are:

Availability -
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 -
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-
You 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 and enjoy
one of our most popular national pastimes;
Gardening !

"When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
Local Gardeners have learned their lessons from experience, so you can hardly go wrong by duplicating the actions of your local gardening community. Look around; see which gardens are top notch. Talk to the Gardeners. We're a friendly bunch and glad to share words of wisdom.

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