Spring and summer are often thought of as the peak seasons for most plants. But what if you could enjoy a gorgeous, bountiful garden all year?
It’s possible–and easier than you think–to cultivate a thriving garden throughout all twelve months of the year. Read on to discover our month-by-month ideas for seasonal gardening.
Why Garden Seasonally?
Seasonal gardening takes advantage of the fact that all plants aren’t on the same growing schedule. Different plants thrive in different seasons and types of weather; flowers bloom at various points in the year, and not all vegetables are ready to harvest at the same time.
By diversifying the flowers and vegetables you choose to grow and planning your planting schedule around their individual cycles, you can work with nature and watch your plants thrive all year.
Seasonal Gardening: Planting Month by Month
So, how can you practice seasonal gardening for a better harvest year-round? Let’s dig into some planting ideas for each month.
While we can give a general overview of when things can be planted, keep in mind that knowing your particular area’s hardiness zone will be key to helping you plan your ideal garden.
Gardening in the cold days of January may seem daunting at first, since you can’t plant anything if the ground is frozen. But fear not, seasonal gardener: this can actually be the perfect time to start food plants like basil and chili peppers in indoor pots. You can always move them outside in the warmer months.
In milder climates where the ground isn’t frozen, January can be a great time to plant vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and radishes. Bluebells are also a hardy early spring-blooming flower that you can plant in preparation for brighter days ahead.
If February is still freezing in your area, you can continue to focus on your indoor vegetable pots.
In warmer climates, you may want to consider planting forsythia, which will bloom throughout the spring and summer. For vegetables, if the ground isn’t frozen, you can start planting things like cabbage, beets, and broccoli.
As winter winds down in March, your list of seasonal planting options will continue to expand! In terms of vegetables, you’ll be able to continue planting the ones we’ve discussed above, along with onions and shallots.
For flowers, if the ground isn’t frozen in your area, you can plant hellebores (also called Lenten roses) which often bloom in very early spring; delphinium can also be planted at the end of winter for a summer bloom.
The proverbial April showers can signal the perfect time to start planting your first blooming perennial flowers (phlox, for instance), as they should go in two to three weeks before your area’s frost-free date.
Spring is also the sweet spot for planting almost any vegetable you like. Just be mindful of the different plants’ growth times so you can stagger your harvests and enjoy the fresh produce for months to come.
If you have May flowers on your mind, why not begin planting perennials that need more sun, like clematis? Once your local frost-free date has passed, you can also start planting annual flowers and summer-blooming bulbs such as begonias, dahlias, and lilies.
As was the case in April, you can plant almost any vegetables at this point – so get out there and enjoy the fresh spring air!
As temperatures continue to climb in June, you’ll want to continue planting perennials that will thrive in the summer’s heat (lavender and black-eyed Susans are both great options) along with your annuals. June is also a great time to grow vegetables that love sunshine, like tomatoes and zucchini.
To keep your seasonal garden colorful all summer long, July can be the perfect time to plant flowers like roses that will bloom later in summer.
Depending on your climate, it may be too hot for some baby vegetable plants right now; you don’t want them to get scorched. However, if you want to plant corn and cucumbers, those should be able to handle the high temperatures.
If your local area has an early first frost date, you may want to start planting spring-blooming bulbs like tulips and daffodils in August, as they’ll need roughly six weeks to sink in before the first frost hits. Vegetables like kale should also be planted six to eight weeks before the first frost, so it might be a good idea to get those in as well.
Also, remember that with a seasonal garden, the natural vibrancy doesn’t have to end with the summer! For even more beauty in the coming months, you can also consider planting flowers that will bloom well into fall, like asters.
September is a great time to continue planting spring-blooming bulbs and vegetables, especially if your first frost date is later. For more vegetable goodness, you can also grow spinach at this time of year. And if you’re looking to add some classic fall colors, September is the peak time to plant mums.
If you live in a warmer climate, you can still get away with planting fall flowers like asters and mums in October. It’s also a good time to plant arugula; believe it or not, you should be able to harvest the first leaves in just a few weeks.
While temperatures continue to drop, there’s still so much you can do with seasonal gardening. Peas are one of the best vegetables to grow in the cooler months, as they don’t mind the low temperatures. However, you do need to make sure that they’ll still get enough sunlight.
November is also an excellent time to plant garlic in most locations; it will be ready to harvest in the spring. Additionally, spinach can be planted in some milder climates.
Even as winter begins, you can consider planting onions or broad beans, which you’ll be able to harvest as early as May. And if the dreary December days have you dreaming of a “pop” of color, good news: poppies actually do better when exposed to cold, so you can plant them now if you’d like.
Get Ready to Enjoy Your Garden Year-Round!
As we’ve seen, it’s entirely possible to cultivate a thriving garden year-round. With a little planning and knowledge of plants’ preferences and growth cycles, you can enjoy nature’s beauty and bounty every month of the year. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your seasonal garden today!
For even more information on planning your perfect garden, be sure to check out our other gardening tips!
- About the Author
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Based in Cincinnati, Lauren loves spending time outdoors and witnessing the beauty of Ohio’s changing seasons. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, watercolor painting, and botanical drawing. Lauren believes that everyone has the ability to create a beautiful outdoor space and is passionate about helping readers cultivate their own little slice of paradise.
With a bachelor’s in Classics and a master’s in Library & Information Science, she finds her work deeply fulfilling and enjoys having the opportunity to learn something new every day.