An Organic Gardening Calendar

Part of the Organic Gardening For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

Use this organic gardening calendar to keep track of what you need to do in each season, and remember to always work with nature, rather than against it.

Gardening in spring

  • Sow frost-tender vegetables and flowers under cover, on a sunny windowsill or in a heated greenhouse.

  • Start to sow hardy veg and flowers outdoors when weather and soil permit.

  • Use traps or barriers to protect seedlings and susceptible plants (such as lilies) from slugs and snails.

  • Finish cutting back herbaceous perennials.

  • Sow or turf new lawns.

  • Plant evergreens or slightly tender shrubs.

  • Prune roses and late-summer flowering shrubs.

  • Spread a mulch of garden compost or manure on bare soil between plants in borders.

Summer sowing and more

  • Make regular sowings of many vegetables, including salads, right through summer; plant tender veg outside when frosts are past.

  • Watch for signs of pests, especially under cover; control by hand, and introduce biological controls if necessary.

  • Trim hedges when fledglings have left their nests.

  • Mulch flowers and crops to reduce water loss and keep down weeds.

  • Pull weeds regularly: don’t let them seed!

  • Sow a cover crop (green manure) on any soil likely to be left bare over winter.

Autumn organic gardening

  • Gather as many leaves as you can to turn into leafmould, a wonderful soil conditioner.

  • Set up compost bins if you don’t already have them; shred woody prunings and compost, or stack for six months to use as a mulch.

  • Plant bulbs.

  • Put up nest boxes; birds inspect them over winter for next year’s nesting, and are likely to use them as winter roosts: clean existing nest boxes.

Wintertime and your garden

  • Cut back dead growth of perennials only if leaves are ‘mushy’; leaving growth until late winter/early spring gives hibernation sites for many useful insects.

  • Gather and dispose of diseased leaves and fruits from roses, other plants and fruit trees, to avoid spores overwintering.

  • Put out food and fresh water for birds; ensure a steady supply as they come to depend on it during freezing weather.

  • Keep a small area of water ice-free on any pond to let toxic gases out and oxygen in; use a pond heater, float a ball or pour on boiling water.

  • Spread manure on no-dig beds in later winter.

  • Set up water butts to save rainwater.

  • Order seed and plant catalogues to browse new pest and disease-resistant varieties.

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Organic Gardening For Dummies Cheat Sheet (UK Edition)

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