Any long-time organic gardener knows that organic gardening is not just a summer activity! There are many chores and tasks to stay on top of a healthy, organic garden all year round. One benefit of working on it during the colder months is that it makes gardening in the warmer months less stressful and more enjoyable.

12 Month Guide to Organic Gardening | Green Team Lawn Care

Here is an overview of a year’s worth of chores. Every month, we will have a detailed post of things to do, all loosely based on USDA Zone 5. Check this map for your zone, and adjust your chores as needed. Always consult your local County Extension office and reputable nurseries for regional and local specifics.

February

Get more detailed with your plan. Be ready for planting time.

Order seeds and plants
Clean and sharpen your tool – repair or replace as necessary
Prune fruit trees before the buds swell
Propagate houseplants as the days lengthen, and fertilize at half strength

March

March calls for more maintenance. Don’t forget to enjoy the first spring flowering bulbs!

Finish pruning fruit trees early in the month
Remove mulch from and prune your roses
Make a compost pile
Start cleaning the yard if the snow is gone
Rake the lawn to remove the thatch layer
Clean up last year’s debris
Add compost to beds

April

April showers bring May flowers, whereas your hard work this month will bring a bountiful harvest for summer and fall.

Deadhead the flowers of early blooming shrubs and bulbs
Ensure your irrigation system is working – replace or repair what needs it, and check it again
Fertilize the lawn with slow release organic fertilizer
Plant cool weather vegetables and herbs – lettuce, kale, chard, arugula, beets, carrots, spinach, green onions.

May

May is the big planting month!

Get your warm weather vegetables, flowers and herbs in the ground
Be aware of late frosts, and cover plants as needed
Plant gladiola and dahlia bulbs
Deadhead and prune shrubs that flower
Check for pests (aphids, squash bugs, cabbage loopers), and use natural controls to keep them in check
Start your hardscaping projects (walkways, fences, patios)

June

You can finally start harvesting some greens. Remember to relax a bit this month, and enjoy your hard work so far.

Finish up planting, add a thick layer of mulch, and start weeding to allow new plants to thrive
Water daily to get seedlings established
Watch for tent caterpillars and powdery mildew, and treat organically
Harvest greens, peas and perennial herbs
Keep deadheading shrubs as they flower

July

Your hard work is starting to pay off this month. Keep going!

Keep weeding, watering, and watching for pests and diseases
Water your containers twice a day, and deep-water trees and shrubs every two weeks
Mid-month, stop deadheading flowering shrubs
Harvest garlic early in the month, and the beginnings of the beans, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes later in the month
Make arrangements for someone to water if you go on vacation
Divide irises
Plant a fall harvest with succession planting

August

Ah, the month when all your hard work pays off! This is the biggest harvest month – vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs

Experiment with new recipes
Get prepared to put up your edibles for winter by canning, freezing and drying them
The shortening days slow plant growth, so back off watering and fertilizing
Order spring flowering bulbs

September

Frost might come knocking at your door this month.

Be prepared to cover tender plants at night
As plants die back, clean up those areas
Replace with winter cover crops, or cover beds with a layer of compost
Bring in houseplants, and empty containers as plants die back
Divide peonies
Start saving seed of flowers and vegetables

October

It’s a great time to take advantage of year-end sales and prepare for the cold months to come.

Plant trees, shrubs and perennials
Plant garlic and spring flowering bulbs
Seed bare spots in the lawn
Rake leaves – go over them with the mower to use as mulch, or add them to the compost
Dig up herbs to pot up and bring inside for winter
Dig up gladiola and dahlia bulbs to store for winter
Leave some seed heads on flowers as winter bird food

November

November is about preparing your soil for the year to come.

Finish cleaning up flower and vegetable beds
Get a soil test to prepare for amendments in spring
Hang bird feeders
Mulch strawberries with 5” of straw
Remove diseased wood from roses
Mulch or hill up soil around the base of them to a depth of 10-12”
Clean and oil your tools before putting them away – trade them for your snow shovels and snow blower!

December

Seed catalogs start rolling in now to let you start dreaming about next year! In this quiet gardening month, review the growing season just past.

Make notes about what worked well and what didn’t
Add those thoughts to next year’s plan, which you should be working on right now!
Buy gardening gifts for friends, and ask for the same gifts yourself.
Force paperwhites for midwinter beauty and fragrance
The complete guide for getting ready in the winter.

January

This is a wind-down month after the holidays. It’s a good time to settle in with seed catalogs and dream about summer.

Start planning gardens and other yard projects
Keep your bird feeders full
Compost or chip your Christmas tree
Learn to watch the weather
The complete guide for getting ready in the winter.

Record Keeping is Vital to Success

Get organized for any time of year. Make your own calendar to plan tasks, or check out these apps.

Keep a detailed journal from year to year, recording plant varieties, planting schedules, bed maps, weather patterns, and harvest times and amounts. Trust me, it’s hard to remember all those things the following year! Write them down, add drawings and pictures, and refer to each year often.

Happy gardening!

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