A-Z Gardening in Zone 3-4

For the organic gardner struggling in the short season climate

Old Timey Planting Guides

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In years gone by people planted their crops according to the cycle of the moon, sun and other visual signs. Here are a few of the signs they observed when planting.

Corn and Beans.

Plant corn and beans when elm leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear, when oak leaves are the size of a mouse’s ear, when apple blossoms begin to fall, or when dogwoods are in full bloom.

Lettuce, spinach and cole crops.

Plant lettuce, spinach seeds in the garden and  broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, pac choi, Chinese cabbage etc. seedlings  in the garden, when the lilacs show their first leaves or when daffodils begin to bloom.  See also post,  “Of Cabbages and Kings”.

Tomatoes, early corn, peppers.

Plant tomatoes and peppers plants and early corn, when dogwoods are in peak bloom or when day lilies start to bloom.  See also post, “Tomatoes and Peppers”, on page 2.

Cucumbers and squash.

Plant cucumbers and squash seedlings when lilac flowers fade. See also post, “Squash Anyone?”.

Potatoes

Plant potatoes when the first dandelion blooms. See also post, “One potato, Two Potato”.

Beets and carrots.

Plant beets and carrots when dandelions are blooming.

Peas.

Plant peas when the forsythia blooms, when daffodils begin to bloom or on Good Friday.  See also post, “Peas Please”.

This information gleaned from “The Old Farmers Almanac” and the University of Wisconsin Extension.

Beware,  sudden prolonged warmer than usual weather may cause apples, other fruits and plants to soften early so that they will blossom and then get caught by a frost, which could cause the above signs to be off by a few weeks or more.   Such a hot spell forced my apples and blueberries to bloom too soon last year and they produced little if  any fruit.

A truism in zone 3-4 is never plant your tomatoes or other tender crops before  May 30th, no matter how warm it has been.  More that a few neighbors have not heeded this warning and have lost their tomatoes and tender plants and had to start over again.

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Author: tbenkovitz

I have been gardening for over 50 years, 38 of them as an organic gardener in the short season climate of upstate New York.

3 thoughts on “Old Timey Planting Guides

  1. Tania, good to have you back posting on your website! There is a lot of truth to your observations about planting times. I’ve always planted beets and carrots and chard on the early side of the dandelion bloom. (I am soaking beet seeds right now to plant tomorrow.) I planted potatoes earlier than the dandelion bloom last year, and they just sat there and sat there . . . . I was afraid that they had rotted. But they knew their own time. Cabbages and kale will go in in a week or two. (Daffodils are blooming — I am going to send you a photo of the hundreds of daffodils in front of my barn.) I postpone planting tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers and squash until — well, after June 1. And even then I have the row covers on for a week or two. Garden is tilled, and I spent the day repairing the fence — rabbits wreaked havoc last year. I planted leeks. The garlic is up, as is the rhubarb, the chives, and just barely the asparagus. Looking forward to seeing you at Thaddeus’ christening.

    Like

  2. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the layout of your
    blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with
    it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

    Like

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