Monthly Garden Calendar for Pacific Northwest United States

Organic Gardening Month-to-Month Almanac

By Debbie Leung



My farming friends and I get a good chuckle when we hear people proclaim, "I planted my garden last weekend." It's funny to hear people say that because we start sowing seeds in March (both indoors and out), and continue with weekly plantings through July when fall-harvested crops are sown. Fast growing greens are sown a couple times in August and I'm not done until garlic is planted in October. In the family garden, plant just enough of each variety to feed family and friends for a couple weeks. Lots of small plantings provide young harvestable plants over a long season for fresh nutritious meals most of the year. There is less waste, and less anxiety to figure out what to do with that long row of cabbage ready to bust open at any moment into tall sprays of little white flowers.

Planting Schedule. It's not too late to plant more spinach, lettuce, carrots, arugula, or cilantro. Where summers are hot, get heat resistant varieties. Fast growing corn and bean varieties can be planted until mid-month.

Weekly Harvest. Harvest everything that is ripe twice a week. If it is too much to eat, Take the extras to the office, soup kitchen, or needy neighbor.

Productive Peas. Peas will produce for a long time where temperatures don't get too hot if every single ripe pod is harvested three times a week.

Strawberry Success. To get the most out of the strawberry plants, harvest all ripe ones Three times a week. Note the poorly producing plants and remove them after the harvest. Plants are productive for only a couple years. Transplant the baby plants forming on the end of runners into a new bed for berries next year.

Tomato Tips. The shorter bush or determinate tomatoes are bred to grow to a "pre determined" size and set fruit all at once. They can sprawl along the ground, be tidy in short cages, or tied to 3-foot stakes. The tall indeterminate varieties, which can continue to set fruit "indeterminately," will produce larger fruit if plants are pruned to one or two stems.

Don't Forget to Deadhead. Remove dead blooms from the profusion of late spring and early summer flowers for tidiness and to encourage continued flowering in annuals and a longer bloom season for many perennials and shrubs.