With the Winter season coming into its final month here in the southwest desert, it is that time of year to start planting again. I love planning my garden planting. At the bottom of this post you will find my garden planting schedule for Spring 2017.
Garden Planning Resources
Important components of a good garden plan include the schedule of when to plant which plants, the best days for planting each type seed, and the actual layout accounting for companion crops (that’s a whole ‘nother post). I use this FREE guide from Farmer’s Almanac determine best planting times for specific crops in my local area. They list counties and cities for every state. I’ve found this resource to also be highly accurate when combined with their Gardening by the Moon Calendar . This Free planting guide is based on the age-old wisdom of how the moon’s phase and position affects the growth of crops.
The theory behind gardening by the moon is that Earth is affected by the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon. The moon’s pull is greater because of it’s proximity to Earth, even though it’s mass is much smaller. This force affects the rising and falling of the tides, air currents on earth and the occurrence of thunderstorms. It is greatest when at Full Moon and New Moon phase. Interestingly, the water content of the earth follows the same tide cycle as the major bodies of water on earth. More water in the soil means seeds sprout and grow better, with a stronger start. So, it makes sense to follow the moon for key planting times. Direct experience over the last several years planting my garden confirms that this works. Last year I purposefully planted a few seeds on days that were considered poor for planting and while the plants did grow, the yield from these plants ranged from bleak to nothing at all.
Ute York, in her book “Living by the Moon” says:
“The old-time gardeners say, “With the waxing of the moon, the earth exhales. ” When the sap in the plants rise, the force first goes into the growth above ground. Thus, you should do all activities with plants that bear fruit above ground during a waxing moon. With the waning of the moon, the earth inhales. Then, the sap primarily goes down toward the roots. Thus, the waning moon is a good time for pruning, multiplying, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, and controlling parasites and weeds”
“Living by the Moon”, by Ute York. Bluestar Communications. Woodside, CA 1997
Now you know the method to my gardening madness. Below is my planting plan for the next two months. Succession planting of single-harvest items will keep your fridge or root cellar stocked as long as possible. I always plant garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips and onion sets in approximately two week intervals, Leafy greens in 3-4 week intervals. This staggers your harvest, and extends the life of those crops. Once these veggies get growing, we rarely have to purchase from the grocery store, and we get to eat organic produce for pennies. Another bonus is that my daughter will grow up knowing exactly where her food comes from and hopefully have respect for the effort that it takes to grow it! She’s already had a blast helping me plant peas this week!
Garden Planting Schedule Spring 2017
2nd & 3rd, & 26th: Sugar Snap Peas, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery
13th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 25th: Garlic, Onion, Beets, Carrots, Parsnips, Potatoes (not sweet)
16th, 17th & 26th: Kale, Lettuce, Spinach, Swiss Chard
2nd, 3rd, 29th, 30th: Above Ground Crops, Corn, Lettuce, Peppers, Tomato, Celery
6th, 7th, 25th, 26th: Beans, Cucumber, Summer Squash, Zucchini,
13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 25th, 26th: Root Crops, Onion, Beets, Carrots, Leeks, Radish,
15th & 16th: Leafy Greens, Lettuce, Swiss Chard
25th, 26th: Watermelon, Eggplant, Melon, Strawberries
What garden planting schedule or planning resources have you found useful? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Happy planting!
Below are a few links to products that I’ve used and found to be great gardening tools for very little investment.