Soil pH Level: Testing – Raising – Lowering

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Soil pH Level: Testing - Raising - Lowering

Why are my blueberries not growing so well, when everything else is doing fine? The correct soil pH level will have a major effect on your plants, fruits, and vegetables. Test your soil pH level and raise or lower the levels.

  • How can I test the soil pH? Soil testing can be done naturally with vinegar and baking soda or with a kit.
  • How can I raise the pH level of my soil? With lime, potassium carbonate, wood ashes, baking soda and more.
  • How can I lower the pH level of my soil? With organic matter, aluminum sulfate, sulfur, coffee, vinegar and more.

We will go through the details of what is required to test your soil – raise and lower the pH levels.

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Soil pH Scale

Soil pH scale will tell us how acidic or alkaline our soil is.

Ultra-acidicbelow 3.5 pH
Extremely acidic3.5-4-4 pH
Very strongly acidic4.5-5 pH
Strongly acidic5.1-5.5 pH
Moderately acidic5.6-6 pH
Slightly acidic6.1-6.5 pH
Neutral6.6-7.3 pH
Slightly alkaline7.4-7.8 pH
Moderately alkaline7.9-8.4 pH
Strongly alkaline8.5-9 pH
Extremely alkalineAbove 9 pH

High pH level

If the soil is too alkaline or too acid, certain plants won’t grow or will grow poorly, and certain important microorganisms might not be able to thrive. Some plants prefer more alkaline/acid soil, but very rare plants thrive in extremes. Every vegetable, shrub or tree, grows best in its preferred pH. Just to give an example, tomatoes will grow best in the soil that ranges from 6-6.8 pH (meaning slightly acidic to neutral).

Effects of Soil pH on Plant Growth

The level of nutrients will vary, depending on the soil’s pH. The growth of certain beneficial organisms might be inhibited in extreme conditions (very acidic or very alkaline).

Very Acidic (3-5 pH)

In the soil that is very acidic 3-5 pH, certain nutrients such as Magnesium, Calcium, Copper, and Potassium, will be washed away faster, because they are highly water-soluble. The growth of beneficial microorganisms (bacteria) will be inhibited, so there will be less organic material available. At this point, phosphates cannot be absorbed.

Acidic (5.1-6 pH)

If the soil’s pH is from 5.1-6, some plants that thrive in acidic conditions might prosper (plants who don’t like lime). The growth of bacteria is still slightly inhibited.

Slightly Acidic to Neutral (6.1-7 pH)

Soil’s pH ranging from 6.1 to 7 is good for many different plants. There are enough nutrients available for healthy growth. Earthworms and beneficial microorganisms thrive in this soil, making it more fertile.

Alkaline (7.1-9 pH)

Iron, Phosphorous, and Manganese are less available. There is often a lot of lime (some plants can’t tolerate it). Plant growth might be inhibited due to nutrients deficiency.

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

Factors Affecting Soil pH

Flooding

If there is a lot of rainfall, the pH in acid soil can increase, and the pH of alkaline soil can decrease. If the soil is flooded its pH is often from 6.5-7.2

Nitrogen Fertilizers

Nitrogen coming from manure, legumes, organic matter, or natural or artificial fertilizers, will increase acidity. Fertilizing with Nitrogen will speed up the process of overall soil acidification.

Amount of Rainfall

The amount of rainfall will determine the acidity/alkalinity of the soil. Higher rainfall usually means more acidic soil, and low rainfall means more alkaline soil.

Surrounding Vegetation

Some crops, shrubs or trees, will leave the soil more acidic/alkaline. Often soil becomes more acid after harvesting the crops because bases are removed. It also depends on the crops that we harvest (some remove more bases than others).

Basic Cations

Quantity of Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium, and Potassium exchangeable cations, also determines the soil’s pH. Dominant Sodium cations increase soil’s pH more than other cations.

CO2

Soil’s pH is affected by CO2 in the air surrounding the soil. If the concentration of CO2 is increased, the pH of the soil is lower and more nutrients become available.

Organisms

The different organisms that are present in the soil might make the soil more acidic/alkaline. Bacteria feeding on the organic matter will gradually create a more acidic environment with their by-products.

Percent Base Saturation

If the percent base saturation is low, the soil will be acid. If the saturation is from 50 to 90, the soil will be neutral or alkaline.


How to Test Soil pH

Soil pH can be tested in many different ways, most common are; soil test kits or pH meters. You can also pay for your soil to be professionally tested by a certified lab for its pH, nutrients and other parameters.

Testing Without a Kit

Baking Soda and Vinegar

It’s possible to roughly test your soil without a kit or a pH meter. This method is not as accurate, but it works most of the time.

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  1. Collect samples of soil from different parts of the garden
  2. You will need 2 tablespoons of soil in each cup
  3. Add half a cup of vinegar to your soil sample
  4. Observe the reaction
  5. If the sample starts to “fizz” = Alkaline
  6. Ranging from 7.1 to 8.

If the soil didn’t fizz, use the sample from the same part of the garden, adding a little distilled water to get a more liquid consistency. Add half a cup of baking soda to the mixture. In this case, if it starts to fizz, you have acidic soil, more likely ranging from 5-6 of pH.

How does it work? Combining an acid and an alkaline substance will cause a fizzing reaction. If you mix vinegar with baking soda, you will get a fizzing reaction. If you mix acid soil with baking soda, the same will happen, and vice versa.

There is an option your soil might not react at all. This can mean two things, whether your soil is more or less neutral pH (7), or the alkaline soil simply does not contain enough limestone or a similar substance, to cause a reaction.

However, this method does work for most people, and it’s the easiest and cheapest way to test your soil. If you need more specific results, you might want to additionally test your soil with a kit or a pH meter.

Don’t test your soil in times of flooding or drought, as minimum or excess water will alter your soil’s pH. More rain means more acidic soil, not enough rain might mean more alkaline soil. Other factors to take into consideration are nitrogen fertilizers that will increase soil’s acidity. Try to test your soil in most optimal conditions – average humidity and not after using fertilizers
 

Soil Testing Kits

Soil test kits are available on the internet and almost every specialized gardening store, they are inexpensive and easy to use. Some kits measure only the pH, while others will also measure the level of potassium, nitrates, etc.

These tests are the most affordable and easy to use, even for beginners, but the accuracy of results can sometimes be somewhat lower and is also related to the proper reading of the test results.

Testing With a Kit

Testing kits can be purchased online or in every specialized garden store. These kits are affordable and easy to use.

  1. Collect soil samples from your garden
  2. Mix a cup of soil with some distilled water
  3. “milkshake” consistency
  4. Dip your pH testing strip inside this mixture for about 25 seconds
  5. You can clean any excess of dirt from your strip, by dipping it in distilled water.
  6. Compare the color result with color code

Testing With a pH Meter

Electronic pH meters are more accurate when measuring soil pH. You can read the accurate results straight from the meter’s screen. The cost is relatively low and they are very simple to use. However, these meters need proper care and maintenance (calibrating, correct storage). Most of the time they only test soil’s pH and no other parameters.

Commercial pH meters have become very affordable, and are very accurate. For as low as 10 dollars, you can buy a pH meter that also measures the amount of moisture and sunlight. Some of them don’t require batteries, others do. The meters who require batteries, usually have a digital screen and will require calibration every once in a while, they also offer self-calibrating versions for as little as 20 dollars. If you decide to buy a battery-free meter, you will have to do your own readings from its display. With the meters that include batteries, the number will appear on the screen (for example 6.5 pH).

How to Use a pH Meter

  1. Start with digging a small hole in the soil
  2. You can do it in different parts of the garden
  3. The hole has to be from 2-4 inches deep (5-10 cm)
  4. Break up the soil inside the hole to smaller pieces, removing rocks and other larger objects.
  5. Fill the hole with distilled water – Don’t want to use spring water or rainwater, as springwater might be slightly alkaline and rainwater slightly acidic, which might alter the results.
  6. Fill the hole with water.
  7. Insert the probe of your pH meter into the mud. The tester needs to be properly calibrated.

With a digital tester, you will be able to read the results from the screen. With a battery-free tester, you will have to do your own reading from its display. Now you know the exact pH of your soil on different parts of the garden!

Professional Measuring

Optionally, you can contact your local laboratory that is in charge of measuring the soil pH, quality and so on. The prices are reasonable, and they can give you more information on your soil if necessary (sometimes you have to pay more for additional readings).


Testing your Soil for Nutrients

Plant Deficiency Guide

For healthy growth, your plants need essential nutrients and here is why;

Plant Deficiency Guide

Nitrogen

Potassium

The form of Nitrogen that plants can use, is called Nitrate. Nitrate promotes healthy plant development, assisting with chlorophyll productions. Potassium makes plants stronger, helps to retain water and it’s crucial in the early stages of plant growth and development. It also helps to control plant diseases and to suppress pests. Potassium also helps the plants to endure more extreme temperatures.

Sulfur

Sulfur helps the plants with forming seeds and disease resistance. It’s also one of the crucial elements of aiding plants in the production of amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes.

Calcium

Calcium is important in plant metabolism and enhances the plant’s ability to absorb nitrates. It’s a crucial element for healthy cell wall development, which makes plants stronger, helping them to fight disease. It helps to neutralize acidity in the growing environment.

Phosphorus

Assists with the root and flower growth and helps the plants to endure environmental stressors.

Magnesium

Magnesium helps with phosphorus absorption and promotes chlorophyll production, giving the plants that healthy green color, helping CO2 absorption. Lacking magnesium, your plants and veggies may look a little pale and anemic.

Soil Nutrients Testing Kit

There are many different kits on the internet that you can purchase to test levels of Potassium, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus in your soil, and the pH. There might be kits that will test for additional elements.

There are different options for testing kits that can be purchased online or in specialized stores. Most of the kits are specialized to test nutrients, but some of them will also test the soil’s pH. These kits come with all the necessary instructions for proper use. You will get little glass vials with liquid and test keys. With the solutions included in the test vials, you will be able to accurately test the levels of Potassium, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus in your soil (and other nutrients), and also the soil’s pH.

You need to mix the soil with the solutions provided inside the vials and reading the levels of a certain nutrient with the help of the key provided. Different manufacturers can provide different instructions that you will have to follow. Most of the tests will also include a chart, telling you what is the optimal level of a certain nutrient, and you will be able to see if certain nutrients are lacking in your soil.

More information on testing the soil for nutrients:Gardeners Path and The University of Vermont


7. How to Lower Soil’s pH Level

There are many ways to alter your soil’s pH. Lowering it means, making it less alkaline and more neutral and acidic. Some of the ways that are natural and eco-friendly, while others include chemicals.

Organic Matter: peat – manure – mulch

Compost, manure, peat and acidic mulch, will lower your soil’s pH gradually. As the organic matter deteriorates, microorganisms will feed on it, creating a more acidic environment with their by-products. If you want to lower your soil’s pH fast, these will not give you instant results. Organic material has many other benefits such as; added nutrients and improving aeration and drainage of the soil. This won’t help too much if the soil is mostly clay.

Soil pH Level: Testing - Raising - Lowering 2

Aluminum Sulfate

With aluminum sulfate, you can lower your soil’s pH very quickly. As soon as it dissolves in the soil, it makes it more acid (right away). If you need to lower the soil’s pH very fast, this is definitely one of the best options. Around 1-1,2 pounds of aluminum, sulfate is used for 10 square feet of soil, for one level decrease on the pH scale (for example; from 8-7). Be careful not to excessively use it, as aluminum might accumulate in your soil, causing aluminum toxicity.

Sulfur

Sulfur is often cheaper and stronger than Aluminum sulfate, meaning you can use less, but it lowers the pH slower. Bacteria living in the soil will metabolize it, turning it into sulfuric acid. Different factors determine how fast Sulfur will lower the soil’s pH (temperature, moisture, amount of bacteria). You will need only 0.2 pounds of Sulfur for 10 square feet of soil, for one level decrease.

Coffee

Brewed coffee won’t change your pH fast, because its acids are water-soluble. However, it will add some nitrogen to the soil, which will help to reduce pH over a longer period of time, similar to compost or manure. Freshly ground coffee does have a pH of around 4.5. You can use your freshly ground coffee to reduce soil’s pH, evenly spreading it throughout your soil. For slower effects, you can always use already brewed coffee. This method is best for small gardens, container planting or houseplants.

Vinegar

Just like coffee, vinegar is harmless and eco-friendly, and can be used to efficiently decrease your soil’s pH, not to mention very cheap! Vinegar is very acidic (2.5-3), and can be added directly to the soil, or into the irrigation system. Make sure you use it in moderation, measuring the pH of the soil every few days, to see if more or less vinegar is needed. Mix 1 cup of vinegar in 1 gallon of water. Measure the soil’s pH daily until the desired effect. Pour the solution directly into the soil or around growing plants if needed.

Sulfur Coated Urea

Just like sulfur, sulfur-coated urea will work decreasing your soil’s ph over time, but the effects are still faster due to urea (1-2 weeks). It also works as a fertilizer, releasing the nutrients to plants over time.

Iron Sulfate

This is a good choice when soil is very compact and rich in clay. Iron Sulfate will create a chemical reaction to promote more acid soil. It will take from 3-4 weeks to reach full effects. You have to use 10 pounds of Iron Sulfate on 100 square feet, to reduce soil’s pH for one level. If your soil is very alkaline, you might want to do it 2 times (2 months before planting anything) as it needs 3-4 weeks to work. The iron in this solution can stain your clothing and working areas, so caution is needed.


How to Raise the Soil’s pH level

There are few ways to raise the soil’s pH, and most of them are ecologically friendly.

Lime

Lime is also known as powdered limestone, and you can find it in almost every garden store. It comes in several forms such as pulverized, pellets and granules, and hydrated. Different forms are useful for different types of soil and levels of moisture. Pulverized lime comes as finely ground powder and can be easily incorporated into the soil. Granules and pellets can be sprinkled by hand, but might not get as easily incorporated as pulverized lime.

Hydrated lime can be used when the soil is very acidic. It’s water-soluble and works quickly, increasing the soil’s pH. For optimal results, you should apply lime 2-3 months before planting, so there is plenty of time for the pH to change. You can spread it by hand and use a rake or other tools to work it into the soil for optimal effects.

Depending on the type of soil, you will have to use more or less lime to increase the pH level for 1. For more sandy soil 25 pounds/1000 square feet, loamy soil 70 pounds/1000 square feet, and around 100 pounds/1000 square feet is the soil is rich with clay.

Potassium Carbonate

Opposed to lime, potassium carbonate is more water-soluble. We can use it with the irrigation system. It works fast in increasing the soil’s pH. If you use potassium carbonate, follow the manufacturer’s instructions found on the packaging.

Wood Ashes

Tree ash is alkaline and will add nutrients such as potassium, phosphate, and calcium to your soil. It doesn’t work as fast as lime, but it will substantially increase soil’s pH over time. You should always re-measure the soil’s pH every once in a while, to see how the pH has changed.

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It works best when mixed with sandy soil. Wood ash will improve soil and plant growth, and is much more beneficial in this aspect, as opposed to Lime. Wood ash can damage seedlings, so don’t add it directly onto young plants. More information on using wood ashes to benefit your soil: Michigan State University

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an eco-friendly way to increase the soil’s pH. The measurement is 1 tablespoon BS/1 gallon of water (mix). Multiply this measurement depending on the size of your garden. Apply to the soil. Measure your soil’s pH, to see if more or less baking soda will be needed. Baking soda is a cheap and fast way to increase the alkalinity of your soil. The changes in pH can appear as fast as in 24 hours. Remeasure to see the results. It’s gentle to the plants and can be applied even in the growing period.

Oyster – Shell Lime – Eggshells

Oyster shell lime is organic and made of oyster shells. It contains more than 30 % of calcium and can be used to treat calcium deficiency, simultaneously raising the soil’s pH. It’s easily incorporated into the soil and is safe for people and animals (as opposed to hydrated lime, that can be potentially harmful). You will have to use 50 pounds/1000 square feet. Eggshells are also rich in calcium, and an eco-friendly solution. However, you will need 1-2 pounds for 1 square foot, so they are more appropriate for house plants, small gardens, and container planting.


Lowering and Raising Soil pH in Potted Plants

You can use natural ingredients to lower/raise potted plants’ soil pH.

Lowering

Vinegar

Mix 1 cup of vinegar in 1 gallon of water. This mixture can be applied directly into the potting soil, but start slowly, just watering the plant. Measure the pH in a while to see the results.

Coffee

The remains of your brewed coffee will gradually decrease the soil’s pH and add some nitrogen to the soil. If you need a higher reduction, add freshly ground coffee beans (not brewed), in small quantities. Don’t add too much, to avoid shocking the plants.

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Add it gradually, while monitoring the pH. Houseplants or veggies that love more acid soil and nitrogen, can always benefit from some brewed coffee remains.

Raising

Eggshells

To make your houseplant soil richer in calcium and increase the pH, you can add crushed egg shells. Wash the eggshells to remove any yolk and eggwhite, that could rot and smell. Crush them by hand or with kitchen tools. Apply moderately and gradually to plants that need more calcium, or to increase pH.

Baking soda

Baking soda is accessible, eco-friendly, gentle to the soil, and will increase alkalinity fast. Be careful with houseplants, as the amount of soil is much smaller. Add baking soda gradually, in small quantities and with care. The mixture is 1 tablespoon of baking soda/1 gallon of water. Don’t overwater the plants, just water with this mixture when necessary. The changes in pH can appear as fast as in 24 hours, and the mixture is safe to apply in the growing period.

Water

Overwatering your plants can make the soil more acidic. Not watering enough, will make it more alkaline. If you overwater the plants making the soil more acidic, you don’t have to add baking soda or eggshells, just wait for the soil to dry out and water moderately in the future. If the soil is too dry, water to increase its pH.


How to Lower pH in Soil Fast

Aluminum Sulfate

As mentioned before, Aluminum sulfate will lower your soil’s pH very quickly. As soon as it dissolves in the soil, it makes it more acid. Use it in moderation, as aluminum might accumulate in your soil, causing aluminum toxicity. The amount that needs to be added is mentioned above (6.2). Sulfur-coating area will work decreasing your soil’s ph over time, but the effects are still faster due to urea (1-2 weeks). It also works as a fertilizer, releasing the nutrients to plants over time. The amount that you need to add is mentioned above (6.6).

Raising Fast

Potassium carbonate

Opposed to lime, potassium carbonate is more water-soluble. We can use it with the irrigation system. It works fast in increasing the soil’s pH. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the right amount.

Baking Soda

The cheap, eco-friendly way to increase soil’s ph in as little as 24 hours.


How to Make Soil Acidic for Blueberries

Grown blueberry bush

Blueberries grow best in acid soil. If the soil where you are planting blueberries is from 4.6 to 5.5, this is the perfect pH to grow blueberries. If it’s pH is higher than 6, you will have to make it more acidic. Pine needles and mulch might help a little over a long period of time. Fortunately, there are other solutions.

  • Adding vinegar, coffee, or other above-mentioned solutions (depending on how much you need to acidify the soil, you will have to use less (coffee, vinegar) or more (chemical solutions) drastic measures.
  • Adding peat moss and decaying leaves to the soil before planting
  • Adding plenty of mulch (2-3 inches) around the plants- Enough water will keep the soil level acidic (regularly watering)


How Much Sulfur is Needed to Lower Soil pH

Opposed to aluminum sulfate, you won’t require much sulfur to lower your soil’s ph. Sulfur is cheaper and you use smaller amounts. Bacteria living in the soil will metabolize it, turning it into sulfuric acid, so it will take longer than aluminum sulfate to alter the pH. Generally, 0.2 pounds of sulfur is needed to change the pH level for 1, in 10 square feet of soil. For example, for 20 square feet of soil, you will need 0.4 pounds of sulfur to bring it from 7 to 6.


What is the pH Level of Clay Soil?

Since clay soil is composed of different organic materials and has different chemical compositions, the pH of clay soil differs in different geographical areas. Even in the same town, different gardens might have different pH when measuring clay soil. The amount of water in the area and nitrogen fertilizers used will also alter the soil’s pH.

Clay soil is more alkaline by nature, while sandy soil, for example, tends to be acidic. Clay soil might be too alkaline for certain plants, and more likely you will need to alter its pH. If only a small part of your garden is composed mainly of clay, you can find crops that thrive in clay soil (many different flowers).

Green beans, lettuce, chard, broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, may grow better in clay, or partially clay soil, due to better moisture retention properties. Adding wood ashes might improve your clay soil texture over time. More information about clay soil can be found at A Green Hand


Preserving and Protecting Nature

When altering soil’s pH, is best to use eco-friendlier options, such as different types of lime, coffee, vinegar, baking soda, wood ash and similar. Excessively and often using large amounts of chemicals to alter your soil’s pH fast, can create soil’s toxicity and it’s not good for people, animals, plants or the soil. Think and plan before, so you can start early enough to alter your soil’s pH gradually, but with less invasive methods.

The chemicals might alter the pH fast, but might also poison nature and end up in your drinking water. Occasionally, and if really necessary, you can use different chemicals, but try to avoid them if possible, or use them in moderation.

How to Start Natural Farming

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How to Start Natural Farming

farmer harvesting natural garden vegetables e1567282116117

1.0 What is Natural Farming?

How to start natural farming on a zero – minimal budget.  For your garden/yard – nature’s way of producing food, with minimal effort.

Natural farming is a way of ecological farming, established by a Japanese philosopher and farmer, Masanobu Fukuoka. This approach was first introduced in his book published in 1975, with a title- “The one-straw revolution.

To do Nothing

He also named it “to do nothing” farming, which doesn’t imply the lack of work, but rather than that, implies the absence of chemicals, machinery and other forms of human intervention. He believed that nature has the capacity to conserve and replenish itself, and it doesn’t require human intervention to maintain its balance. Therefore, this type of farming requires minimum work and minimum investment.

Nature’s Way

Natural farming encourages and embraces the biodiversity of the land where we farm (animals, plants, etc.). It uses what is already there, to promote healthy growth. This type of farming has been practiced for thousands of years, and it requires minimum human input and very low or zero cost. Natural farming also connects to the holistic philosophy of being in harmony with nature, and it’s more than just farming, it’s a way of life.

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

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1.1 Principles of Natural Farming

There are a few main principles to natural farming;

  1. Weeds and bugs are left alone, biodiversity takes care of them (not to reproduce too much)
  2. The field is not plowed or tilled
  3. There is zero or minimum human input
  4. Nature does the necessary work and the process of natural selection

1.2 Natural Farming & Organic Farming – Differences

Natural farming is a form of organic farming, but it has some main differences;

  • Effort: – In organic farming, often compost and manure are used to enrich the soil.
  • Plowingtilting: is used to prepare the soil for gardening and farming.

The natural farming knows none of the above, as it lets nature do the work, with organisms in the soil (bacteria, earthworms), to naturally improve the soil, while maintaining harmony in the environment.

  • Cost – While natural farming requires almost no money (close to zero cost), ecological farming requires the use of organic pesticides, manure, and fertilizer.
  • Environment – Natural farming is in harmony with nature and does not impact the environment (minimal impact). The crops are hand-picked, no chemicals or machinery is used to alter the soil structure.

If you are not ready to fully transition to “radical”, natural farming, you can always include elements of ecological farming (natural fertilizers, natural pesticides, and some other options that we will mention later).

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1.3 Advantages of Natural Farming

Supports the soil quality

The soil quality improves, because no artificial pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers are used in natural farming.

Supports pollinating insects

Insecticides and pesticides are the reason for the death of many pollinators, primarily bees. Up to 40 % of bee colonies have been killed off by chemicals, as opposed to other diseases and problems that bee colonies can endure. In natural farming, there is no use of harmful chemicals, and nature does its job, inviting pollinating insects, with no danger of chemical poisoning.

Reduced cost (can be close to 0 costs)

Since the main principle of natural farming is to let nature do her job, most of the time, no fertilizers and other additives are used, making it a minimum cost, to zero budget.

The eco-friendly way of farming

Supporting and embracing the ecosystem, natural farming, as the name tells us, is in harmony with nature. No chemicals, heavy machinery or other harmful intervention into nature. The areas farmed, don’t change much over time, and don’t get destroyed and exhausted, like in some other ways of farming. Increased biodiversity suppresses weeds and pests, mulch can be also used to suppress weed growth.

Natural ways of improving soil structure and fertility

Earthworms, lactic bacteria, cow dung and urine, mulch, are used to improve soil’s structure and fertility. Other things native do different areas of the world can be used, such as fermented brown rice water (to deter pests and disease). Companion planting in general, or perennial companion planting can be used, to further deter pests and disease.

1.4 Disadvantages of Natural Farming

The weeds and pests are left alone

In unfavorable conditions, there is a chance that excess pests and weeds can destroy a part of our crop.

Smaller yields

In some cases, with no added fertilizers or other help, the yields can be smaller, especially in the first few years.

Takes time to reap full benefits

It might take 3 years or more, to enjoy full benefits of natural farming, due to prior soil and chemical abuse, the ecosystem has to re-establish.

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1.5 Start Natural Farming

 

People who are new to natural farming should try it on a limited piece of their land first. Especially if the soil was previously heavily treated, it might take longer for natural farming to kick off. It might take 3 years or more, to reap the full benefits of natural farming.

To start with natural farming, input has to be chosen, to start growing. The most common input is soil. Eliminate chemicals and intervention in your soil, such as plowing and tilling. Learn about microorganisms in the soil, the surrounding fauna and flora, and how to plant in harmony with those. Natural and ecological farming are similar. Liquid fertilizers, proper use of mulch, natural insecticides and farm animals (chickens, goats, pigs) are all welcome parts of natural farming.

There is a list of small items you will need to start your journey in natural farming;

  • Glass jars
  • Rubber bands
  • Regular alcohol
  • Brown sugar
  • Clay jars
  • Basic tools
  • Seeds

There are quite a few natural solutions you can use in your ecological garden experience (radical natural gardens do not use them), but they are allowed.

  • Liquid lactic acid bacteria – promotes growth for all plants, neutralizes livestock smell- Fermented brown rice water – repels insects and prevents disease
  • Fish oil – a good source of nitrogen, repelling insects and working as a fertilizer
  • Microorganisms and animals that are naturally present in your soil (bacteria, earthworms, etc.)

Natural farming is one of the simplest and one of the most environmentally friendly farming approaches. For those who are not ready to fully embrace natural farming, they can try with a natural/ecological farming hybrid, to see just how far they can go, depending on their climate, soil, etc.

2.0 What are perennial plants?

 

Perennial plants are those plants, which usually live longer than two years. They will rest over the fall and winter, but their root systems remain alive, and if the plant survives, it will continue to grow next year.

Most of the perennials live from 2-3 years, but in this period a lot of them reseed themselves, so it appears that they live much longer. In most cases, your perennials will be healthy if you water them regularly, especially in the first year, even if you are dealing with more drought-tolerant perennials. The soil has to be moist, but not soaked, and most perennials (especially herbs, will require well-drained soil).

2.1 Perennial Vegetables

  • Asparagus
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Leek
  • Sweet potatoes (in zones 8 and up)
  • Radicchio
  • Rhubarb
  • Collard and mustard greens
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Okra
  • Arugula
  • Chicory
  • Sea kale
  • Horseradish
  • Stinging nettle
  • Some types of onion and garlic

2.2 Perennial Fruits

2.3 Perennial Herbs

Most of the herbs will do well in full sun, well-drained soil and if possible, in raised beds. Most herbs can tolerate slightly acid soil, but they prefer neutral to alkaline soil.

Rosemary, thyme, lavender, and sage grow well in coastal gardens. Herbs that can grow in partial shade are; parsley, mint, chives, oregano, and lemon balm.

2.4 Perennial Flowers

  • Geraniums
  • Cornflowers
  • Verbena
  • Dahlia
  • Hibiscus
  • Echinacea
  • Bearded Iris and many more

2.5 Perennial Companion Plants

  • Asparagus can be planted close to leek, yams, radicchio, collard, and mustard greens, kale, arugula, chicory, horseradish, okra, basil, mint, lavender, sage, rosemary, thyme and more. Avoid planting them with garlic and onion.
  • Kale will grow well with yams, horseradish, mint, lavender, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, valerian, fennel and basil
  • Leek grows well with strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes will grow well with thyme
  • Rhubarb will grow well with onion and garlic
  • Arugula will grow well with mint, rosemary, and thyme
  • Chicory will grow well with mustard greens- Horseradish will grow very well with sweet potatoes, strawberries, asparagus, and rhubarb
  • Strawberries will grow well with horseradish, leek, mint, sage, garlic, onion, borage and thyme
  • Blackberries will grow well with borage, lemon balm, mint, and chives
  • Blueberries will grow well with basil and thyme- Raspberries will grow well with yarrow, chamomile, garlic and onion, leeks and chives
companion plants chart e1567283551365
farmer harvesting natural garden e1567282151401

3.0 Perennial Planting Calendar Schedule 

 

January

Different herbs and microgreens can be grown indoors. Basil, lemongrass, watercress, radicchio, etc.

February

  • End of February (beginning of march) if the soil can be worked on, we plant Asparagus. Once established it can grow up to 20 years.
  • It might take from 2-3 years to fully produce. Asparagus likes full sun exposure and more sandy soil.
  • It’s advised not to harvest asparagus in its first 2 years of growth, so it has the time to develop strong and healthy roots.
  • After 2 years, asparagus can be harvested from early spring to the end of June.
  • Seeding kale

March

  • Plant Asparagus
  • Leeks can be sown directly into the soil
  • The possibility of planting rhubarb, well-drained soil, full sun, use a one-year crown (March to June)- Planting kale (early spring and summer)
  • Sowing arugula in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil (will also grow in poorer conditions), you can also sow it in late summer, for fall and early winter
  • Plant horseradish in spring or fall, from plant or root cuttings (available at farmer’s market, nurseries)
  • Seed chives- Planting strawberries (when the soil is warm enough), avoid wet and cold soil
  • End of March lemon balm and borage can be sown- Seeding collard greens
  • Planting or replanting lavender

April

Harvesting asparagus- Leeks can be sown directly into the soil- End of April, or in May ( 1 month after the last frost), we can plant sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes will need a minimum of 4 months of warmer temperatures.

  • Plant rhubarb, well-drained soil, full sun, use a one-year crown
  • Plant kale
  • Sow arugula- Plant horseradish
  • Seed chives in rich well-drained soil, full sun or partial sun- Planting strawberries
  • Plant or replanting lavender
  • Sow chamomile
  • Sow mint
  • Lemon balm and borage can be sown

 May

  • Harvest asparagus

End of April, or in May (1 month after the last frost)

  • Plant sweet potatoes
  • Plant or replanting lavender
  • Plant rhubarb
  • Plant kale
  • Sow mint
  • Harvest mint
  • Harvest rhubarb

June

  • Beginning of June – plant Kale
  • Harvest asparagus
  • Plant rhubarb
  • Sow oregano
  • Sow mint
  • Sow or plant Radicchio
  • Harvest kale
  • Harvest mint
  • Harvest rhubarb
  • Plant or replant lavender

 July

  • Plant or replant lavender
  • Sow basil
  • Harvest kale
  • Harvesting mint
  • Harvesting rhubarb

August

  • Harvesting leeks
  • End of August- Possibly harvest first sweet potatoes
  • Sowing arugula, end of August
  • Planting or replanting lavender
  • Plant horseradish
  • End of August, planting strawberries
  • Harvesting mint
  • Harvesting rhubarb

 September

  • Harvest leeks
  • Harvest sweet potatoes
  • Sowing arugula beginning of September
  • Plant or replant lavender
  • Beginning of September, plant horseradish
  • Planting strawberries
  • Harvesting Radicchio

 October

Beginning of October (if it’s not too cold)

  • Strawberries can still be planted
  • Harvesting Radicchio
  • Harvesting collard greens
  • Harvesting horseradish
  • Plant or replant lavender

November

  • Harvest Radicchio
  • Plant or replant lavender
  • Harvest collard greens

 December

  • Harvest Radicchio
  • Harvest collard greens
We wish you well in planting your natural garden, which will be rewarding for many years. Let us know how you get on, we would love to see pictures of what you have achieved on a minimal budget.
 

For more information to make your garden a success, click to read these articles;

For more information about natural farming and perennials visit;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_vegetable

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_farming

Zone 10 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Zone 10 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Hardiness Zones - Planting Months

This planting calendar schedule, will take you through each month of the year, for zone 10.

For those of you in the UK and Europe, this guide can be applied.  If you are in a different continent, the conditions will vary, as it can be tropical or a dry heat.

Planting zones, are areas of hardiness.  A planting guide, that enables us to know when to plant vegetables, fruit and flowers. Each area within a zone has similar growing conditions, this standardization gives us a good guide to what we can grow and when to grow.

US Zones + Temperatures

u.s.a hardiness planting zones chart 1 to 10

UK Hardiness Zones

Uk zone map hardiness e1567282703152

Planting Calendar Schedule - Zone 10

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

january e1567282415278

January Planting Zone 10

Temperatures: 30 to 40 F (5 to -1 Celsius)

Indoors: Kale, peppers, tomatoes, squash, basil, and melons

Seeding: If the weather is favorable; transplant cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage seedlings outside, but make sure you protect them.

You can also seed early lettuce, onions, carrots, cabbage, radishes, beets, turnips, kale, parsley, and spinach.

february e1567282437332

February Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 30 to 40 F (5 to -1 Celsius)

For zone 9 and 10, all the rules of January apply. If the January was too cold to plant early lettuce, onions, carrots, cabbage, radishes, beets, turnips, kale, parsley, and spinach, February is the time to do it. Make sure you protect the veggies with protective fabric or place them in a polytunnel or greenhouse.

You can also transplant cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage seedlings to a tunnel, and plant peas.

march e1567282458201

March Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 56 to 78 F (13 to 26 Celsius)

You can plant some things, that can also be planted in zones 5-9, but it’s important to consider that some more “cold-loving” veggies, can be inappropriate to be sown in zone 10, in March (Look at January and February for zone 10).

Seeding: Leafy greens, cucumbers, and watermelon. Transplant peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant seedlings, and surround them with compost.

april e1567282490814

April Planting Zone 10

Temperatures: 68 to 82 F (20 to 28 Celsius)

Seeding: Start sewing bush and pole beans, corn, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. You can also plant ginger.

Sweet potato is a good companion to beets and parsnip.

Ginger grows well with legumes (beans, peas) and with chili peppers.

May

May Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 66 to 95 F (19 to 35 Celsius)

Seeding: Melons, squash, cantaloupes, and beans. Plant tomatoes, peppers, and sweet potatoes outside.

Flowers: Marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, verbena, zinnia, tithonia, and Nicotiana.

Plant: Citrus trees, berry bushes, and spring bulbs.

Harvesting: Spinach, lettuce, radishes, and turnips.

Make sure all the plants get plenty of water.

You can still continue to plant citrus trees and berry bushes.

All the house plants should be brought back inside.

june e1567282532977

June Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 75 to 92 F (24 to 35 Celsius)

Seeding: Tomatoes, corn, melons, cucumbers, and beans.

Harvest: Asparagus, beans, spring cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, young onions, peas, spinach, early potatoes, chard, and kohlrabi.

It’s very important to water regularly in these periods (in case there is not enough rain). Especially in zones 9 and 10.

july e1567282347116

July Planting Zone 10

Zone 10

Temperature: 77 to 97 F (15 to 35 Celsius)

Seeding: Eggplants, peppers, sweet potatoes, okra, cilantro, tomatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, and transplanted watermelons. Harvesting: Lettuce, spinach, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

august e1567282191735

August Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 76 to 91 F (25 to 33 Celsius)

Seeding: Broccoli, celery, cauliflower, eggplant, okra, cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, turnips, early watermelon, early peppers, summer and winter squash, pumpkins.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and potatoes.                                                                                                                                       

september e1567282326941

September Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 75 to 89 F (24 to 32 Celsius)

Harvesting: Onion, apples, beans, zucchini, potatoes, and tomatoes.

Seeding: Endive, eggplant, kohlrabi, kale, cucumbers, corn, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, peas, parsley, onions, lettuce, broccoli, beets, beans, Brussels sprouts, and celery.

october e1567282303865

October Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 68 to 85 F (20 to 30 Celsius)

Indoor: Basil, chives, oregano, parsley, and thyme.

Seeding: Asters, Dianthus, Celosia, garlic, grass, blueberries, flower bulbs, and winter lettuce.

November

November Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 60 to 78 F (16 to 26 Celsius)

Harvest: Beans, squash, fruits, carrots, peas, cucumbers, kale, and lettuce. Remove any rotting fruit to prevent disease and pests.

Pruning: Raspberries

Tips: Cover the plants with farmer’s covers, sheets, straw, and mulch, to protect them from freezing.

december e1567282281382

December Planting Zone 10

Temperature: 52 to 73 F (11 to 23 Celsius)

Seeding: Onions, beets, radishes, spinach, leafy greens, and chives (greenhouse, tunnel) Seeding outside: Peas and Brussels sprouts.

Harvest: Fruit from citrus trees, beans, broccoli, melons, radishes, onions, and potatoes.

Remove all the rotten veggies and plants, to prevent pests and diseases. – Protect your fruit trees.

Protect your crops in tunnels and greenhouses. Add covers, straw, and mulch.

Zone 9 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Zone 9 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Hardiness Zone 9 - Planting Months

This planting calendar schedule, will take you through each month of the year, for zone 9.

For those of you in the UK and Europe, this guide can be applied.  If you are in a different continent, the conditions will vary, as it can be tropical or a dry heat.

Planting zones, are areas of hardiness.  A planting guide, that enables us to know when to plant vegetables, fruit and flowers. Each area within a zone has similar growing conditions, this standardization gives us a good guide to what we can grow and when to grow.

US Zones + Temperatures

u.s.a hardiness planting zones chart 1 to 10

UK Hardiness Zones

Uk zone map hardiness e1567282703152
january e1567282415278

January Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 20 to 30 F (-1 to -7 Celsius)

Indoors: Kale, peppers, tomatoes, squash, basil, and melons

Seeding: If the weather is favorable; transplant cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage seedlings outside, but make sure you protect them.

You can also seed early lettuce, onions, carrots, cabbage, radishes, beets, turnips, kale, parsley, and spinach.

february e1567282437332

February Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 20 to 35 F (-7 to 1.6 Celsius)

For zone 9 and 10, all the rules of January apply. If the January was too cold to plant early lettuce, onions, carrots, cabbage, radishes, beets, turnips, kale, parsley, and spinach, February is the time to do it. Make sure you protect the veggies with protective fabric or place them in a polytunnel or greenhouse.

You can also transplant cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage seedlings to a tunnel, and plant peas.

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

march e1567282458201

March Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 54 to 78 F (12 to 26 Celsius)

Seeding: Transplant cabbage and broccoli outside. You can plant; Spinach, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, lettuce, potatoes, asparagus, rosemary, chives, and thyme.

If you have a greenhouse or a polytunnel, you can start to harden your eggplant, tomato and pepper seedlings. Corn, cucumber, and squash can already be planted outside.

april e1567282490814

April Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 63 to 81 F (17 to 27 Celsius)

Seeding: Start sewing bush and pole beans, corn, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. You can also plant ginger.

Seeding: Bush and pole beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, watermelons, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, and squash. Transplant peppers and tomatoes outside.

Sweet potato is a good companion to beets and parsnip.

Ginger grows well with legumes (beans, peas) and with chili peppers.

Eggplants grow well with peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach.

Squash and watermelon, are good companions for corn and beans.

May

May Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 60 to 83 F (15 to 28 Celsius)

Seeding: Melons, squash, cantaloupes, and beans. Plant tomatoes, peppers, and sweet potatoes outside.

Flowers: Marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, verbena, zinnia, tithonia, and Nicotiana.

Plant: Citrus trees, berry bushes, and spring bulbs.

Harvesting: Spinach, lettuce, radishes, and turnips.

Make sure all the plants get plenty of water.

You can still continue to plant citrus trees and berry bushes.

All the house plants should be brought back inside.

june e1567282532977

June Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 74 to 90 F (23 to 32 Celsius)

Seeding: Tomatoes, corn, melons, cucumbers, and beans.

Harvest: Asparagus, beans, spring cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, young onions, peas, spinach, early potatoes, chard, and kohlrabi.

It’s very important to water regularly in these periods (in case there is not enough rain). Especially in zones 9 and 10.

july e1567282347116

July Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 83 to 106 F (28 to 41 Celsius)

Seeding: Eggplants, peppers, sweet potatoes, okra, cilantro, tomatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, and transplanted watermelons. Harvesting: Lettuce, spinach, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

august e1567282191735

August Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 71 to 95 F (22 to 35 Celsius)

Seeding: Broccoli, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, turnips, early watermelon, early peppers, and pumpkins.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and potatoes. 

september e1567282326941

September Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 75 to 100 F (24 to 38 Celsius) and 89 to 64 F (17 to 32 Celsius)

Harvesting: Onions, apples, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, and potatoes.

Seeding: Spinach, tomatoes, peppers, peas, parsley, onions, lettuce, Endive, kohlrabi, kale, cucumbers, corn, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, beets, beans, and Brussels sprouts.

october e1567282303865

October Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 53 to 78 F (12 to 25 Celsius)

Indoor: Basil, chives, oregano, parsley, and thyme.

Seeding: Asters, Dianthus, Celosia, garlic, grass, blueberries, flower bulbs, and winter lettuce.

November

November Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 44 to 73 F (6 to 23 Celsius)

Seeding: Garlic and onion. Protect your lettuce, spinach, wildflowers, and strawberries.

Harvesting: Any remaining carrots, cabbage, kale, turnips, and broccoli.

Add compost around your citrus trees.

If you still have some green tomatoes on your plants, remove the plants with the roots, and hang them indoors. It’s a chance they will still ripen.

Keep the leaves for mulch and compost.

december e1567282281382

December Planting Zone 9

Temperature: 36 to 56 F (2 to 13 Celsius)

Seeding: Onions, beets, radishes, spinach, leafy greens, and chives (greenhouse, tunnel).

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

Pruning: Prune mature trees and shrubs. You can also plant new trees and shrubs.

Protect your peach trees and other fruit trees.

If you notice pest eggs on your fruit trees, use biological solutions to remove them.

Zone 8 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Zone 8 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Hardiness Zone 8 - Planting Months

 
This planting calendar schedule, will take you through each month of the year, for zone 8.

For those of you in the UK and Europe, this guide can be applied.  If you are in a different continent, the conditions will vary, as it can be tropical or a dry heat.

Planting zones, are areas of hardiness.  A planting guide, that enables us to know when to plant vegetables, fruit and flowers. Each area within a zone has similar growing conditions, this standardization gives us a good guide to what we can grow and when to grow.

US Zones + Temperatures

u.s.a hardiness planting zones chart 1 to 10

UK Hardiness Zones

Uk zone map hardiness e1567282703152

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

january e1567282415278

January Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 10 to 20 F (-7 to -12 Celsius)

Indoors: Parsley, onion, leeks, and celery. At the end of January, you can also add broccoli, kale, peppers, and cabbage.

Seeding: If the soil is ready, you can sow carrots, radishes, and beets (make sure to protect them).

Flowers: Pansies, poppies, Nigella and Calendula

february e1567282437332

February Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 10 to 30F (-12 to -1 Celsius)

Indoors: Kale, peppers, tomatoes, squash, basil, and melons

Seeding: Beets, carrots, onion, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, spinach, parsley, kale, and potatoes

At this point, you might want to protect the vegetables in polytunnels, with farmer’s fabric and similar.

march e1567282458201

March Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 51 to 74 F (10 to 23 Celsius)

Indoors: Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

Seeding: Chives, rosemary, potatoes, thyme, asparagus, carrots, beets, lettuce, kohlrabi, radishes, turnips, and Swiss chard.

End of March (seeding), you start with pepper and tomato seedlings, cucumbers, corn, and squash (if the conditions are favorable). It’s better to harden them in a tunnel or greenhouse before planting outdoors.

The veggies planted at the end of March, still need to be protected with farmer’s fabric or in a polytunnel.

april e1567282490814

April Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 50 to 72 F (10 to 22 Celsius)

Seeding: Bush and pole beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, watermelons, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, and squash. Transplant peppers and tomatoes outside.

Tips:

Eggplants grow well with peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach.

Squash and watermelon, are good companions for corn and beans.

May

May Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 57 to 78 F (14 to 26 Celsius)

Seeding: Beans, melons, squash. Planting tomatoes, peppers and sweet potatoes outside.

Flowers: Marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, verbena, zinnia, tithonia, and Nicotiana.

Plant: Citrus trees and berry bushes.

Harvesting: Spinach, lettuce, and radishes.

Tips: Prune trees after they finished flowering. Keep a close watch at any fungal problems (due to the rainy season).

june e1567282532977

June Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 58 to 87 F (15 to 31 Celsius)

Seeding: Tomatoes, corn, melons, cucumbers, and beans.

Harvest: Asparagus, beans, spring cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, young onions, peas, spinach, early potatoes, chard, and kohlrabi.

It’s very important to water regularly in these periods (in case there is not enough rain). Especially in zones 9 and 10.

july e1567282347116

July Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 78 to 104 F (26 to 41 Celsius)

Seeding: Beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, squash, pumpkins, arugula, beets, broccoli, dill, cilantro, kale, spinach, summer lettuce, and Brussels sprouts.

Harvesting: Cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

Make sure you regularly water to prevent drought, add mulch, and straw to help retain water.

august e1567282191735

August Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 82 to 104 F (28 to 40 Celsius)

This information is for zones 7 and 8;

Seeding: Beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, early corn, early cucumber, lettuce, kale, early peppers, spinach, early tomatoes, squash, and onions.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and eggplants.                                                                                                     

september e1567282326941

September Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 60 to 81 F (15 to 27 Celsius)

Harvesting: Onions, apples, tomatoes, beans, raspberries, zucchini, and potatoes.

Seeding: Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, beets, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, spinach, peas, squash and Brussels sprouts, beans, cauliflower, and kale. Cabbage, broccoli, and squash are better when started from seedlings.

october e1567282303865

October Planting Zone 8

Temperatures: 64 to 89 F (18 to 32 Celsius)

Indoor: Basil, chives, oregano, parsley, and thyme.

Seeding: Asters, Dianthus, Celosia, garlic, grass, blueberries, flower bulbs, and winter lettuce.

November

November Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 52 to 76 F (11 to 25 Celsius)

In zone 8 you can still plant fruit trees.

Seeding: If you are using a greenhouse or a tunnel, you can plant; cabbage, broccoli, spinach, beets, carrots, peas, kale, strawberries, and winter lettuce.

Harvesting: If you have any tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers left, make sure you harvest them.

Clean up the leaves, so you can use them as mulch or compost later.

december e1567282281382

December Planting Zone 8

Temperature: 45 to 67 F (7 to 20 Celsius)

Seeding: Onions, beets, radishes, spinach, leafy greens, and chives – (protect them). Flowers: Verbena, pansies, daises, and petunias.

Plant: Trees, roses, and shrubs.

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

When root veggies grow over winter, they develop a sweeter flavor.- Remove rotten veggies and plants to prevent pests and disease.

Zone 7 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Zone 7 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Hardiness Zone 7 - Planting Months

This planting calendar schedule, will take you through each month of the year, for zone 7.

For those of you in the UK and Europe, this guide can be applied.  If you are in a different continent, the conditions will vary, as it can be tropical or a dry heat.

Planting zones, are areas of hardiness.  A planting guide, that enables us to know when to plant vegetables, fruit and flowers. Each area within a zone has similar growing conditions, this standardization gives us a good guide to what we can grow and when to grow.

US Zones + Temperatures

u.s.a hardiness planting zones chart 1 to 10

UK Hardiness Zones

Uk zone map hardiness e1567282703152

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

january e1567282415278

January Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 0 to 10 F (-12 to -18 Celsius)

IndoorsParsley, onion, leeks, and celery. End of January you can add: cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli. As in flowers, you can start seeding geraniums, as they take longer to grow into seedlings.

february e1567282437332

February Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 0 to 10 F (-12 to -17 Celsius)

Indoors: Kale, peppers, tomatoes, squash, basil, and melons

Seeding: Beets, carrots, onion, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, spinach, parsley, kale, and potatoes

At this point, you might want to protect the vegetables in polytunnels, with farmer’s fabric and similar.

march e1567282458201

March Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 38 to 56 F (3 to 13 Celsius)

Indoors: Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

Seeding: Chives, rosemary, thyme, potatoes, asparagus, carrots, beets, lettuce, kohlrabi, radishes, and turnips. Swiss chard can be planted at the end of March.

Asparagus will grow happily with parsley as companion plants

Kohlrabi will grow well around beets, onions, potatoes, and lettuce

april e1567282490814

April Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 49 to 67 F (9 to 20 Celsius)

Seeding: Bush and pole beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, watermelons, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, and squash. Transplant peppers and tomatoes outside.

Tips:

Eggplants grow well with peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach.

Squash and watermelon, are good companions for corn and beans.

May

May Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 57 to 77 F (14 to 25 Celsius)

Seeding: Beans, melons, squash. Planting tomatoes, peppers and sweet potatoes outside.

Flowers: Marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, verbena, zinnia, tithonia, and Nicotiana.

Plant: Citrus trees and berry bushes.

Harvesting: Spinach, lettuce, and radishes.

Prune trees after they finished flowering. Keep a close watch at any fungal problems (due to the rainy season).

june e1567282532977

June Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 67 to 85 F (19 to 30 Celsius)

Seeding: Beets, carrots, potatoes, and parsnip (re-sown). The pumpkin, zucchini, and squash can be permanently transplanted to the garden.

Harvesting: Arugula, spinach, lettuce, and chard.

It’s very important to water regularly in these periods (in case there is not enough rain).

july e1567282347116

July Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 72 to 104 F (22 to 40 Celsius)

Seeding: Beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, squash, pumpkins, arugula, beets, broccoli, dill, cilantro, kale, spinach, summer lettuce, and Brussels sprouts.

Harvesting: Cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

Make sure you regularly water to prevent drought, add mulch, and straw to help retain water.

august e1567282191735

August Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 67 to 80 F (20 to 31 Celsius) and 79 to 102 F (26 to 39 Celsius)

Seeding: Beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, early corn, early cucumber, lettuce, kale, early peppers, spinach, early tomatoes, squash, and onions.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and eggplants.                                                                                                                   

september e1567282326941

September Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 76 to 91 F (25 to 33 Celsius)

Harvesting: Onion, apples, raspberries, zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes and beans.

Seeding: Beans, broccoli, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, spinach, peas, squash, and Brussels sprouts.

october e1567282303865

October Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 59 to 81 F (15 to 27 Celsius)

Indoor: Basil, chives, oregano, parsley, and thyme.

Seeding: Asters, Dianthus, Celosia, garlic, grass, blueberries, flower bulbs, and winter lettuce.

November

November Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 45 to 66 F (10 to 19 Celsius)

Seeding: Last chance to plant spring bulbs, winter lettuce, and spinach.

Harvest: Any remaining carrots, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

If you planted any winter lettuce, spinach, and parsley, you need to protect them from upcoming frost.

At the beginning of the month, you can still plant shrubs, trees, and strawberries.

Clean up the leaves, so you can use them as mulch or compost later.

december e1567282281382

December Planting Zone 7

Temperature: 31 to 57 F (0 to 14 Celsius)

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

Clean up the remaining leaves, so you can use them as mulch or compost later. If you just leave them to rot, they might damage your grass. 

Clean and prepare your garden for winter. – Protect berries (cover and insulate with straw, and mulch). – Protect your fruit trees.

Protect your crops in tunnels and greenhouses. Add covers, straw, and mulch. If you are growing asparagus, trim them. – Remove all the rotten veggies and plants, to prevent pests and disease.

Zone 6 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Zone 6 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Hardiness Zones - Planting Months

This planting calendar schedule, will take you through each month of the year, for zone 6.

For those of you in the UK and Europe, this guide can be applied.  If you are in a different continent, the conditions will vary, as it can be tropical or a dry heat.

Planting zones, are areas of hardiness.  A planting guide, that enables us to know when to plant vegetables, fruit and flowers. Each area within a zone has similar growing conditions, this standardization gives us a good guide to what we can grow and when to grow.

US Zones + Temperatures

u.s.a hardiness planting zones chart 1 to 10

UK Hardiness Zones

Uk zone map hardiness e1567282703152

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

january e1567282415278

January Planting Zone 6

Temperature: -10 to -0 F (-18 to -23 Celsius)

Indoors: Parsley, onion, leeks, and celery.

Flowers: Begonias, pansies, snapdragons, and delphiniums. You will need to help them grow with some artificial lighting, as the natural light might not be strong enough yet.

Parsley and celery will need a number of weeks to germinate, so it’s a good idea to start early. Growing onion seedlings is also a good idea, as they have higher chances of producing healthy onions than the bulbs.

february e1567282437332

February Planting Zone 6

Temperature: -10 to -0 F (-18 to -23 Celsius)

For both January and February, zone 5 is quiet month.  These are cold months where little can be done in the garden.

The same indoor preparations are continued from January.

march e1567282458201

March Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 34 to 54 F (1 to 12 Celsius)

Indoors: Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers (it’s still time)

Seeding: Lettuce, carrots, parsley, radishes, peas, and potatoes.  Flowers: Rose bushes can be planted.

Zone 6 is busier in March. If you have seedlings that you started indoors (broccoli, cabbage, parsley, etc.) now is the time to get them out.

april e1567282490814

April Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 47 to 67 F (8 to 20 Celsius)

Seeding: Spinach, radishes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, and potatoes. Transplant cabbage, tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings outside. If there is any chance of frost, protect them with farmer’s fabric.

May

May Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 54 to 71 F (12 to 22 Celsius)

Seeding: Beets, beans, cabbage, carrots, chard, lettuce, onion, potato, turnips, and radishes. At the end of May, you can transplant melons, tomatoes, peppers, and squash outside.

Flowers: Summer bulbs, asters. Plant new roses (prune old roses).

Harvesting: Peas, spinach, lettuce, asparagus, and radishes.

Pruning: Viburnums, forsythia, and other shrubs that bloom in spring.

Now it’s time to plant or transplant shrubs and trees before the summer heat comes.

june e1567282532977

June Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 53 to 84 F (12 to 29 Celsius)

Seeding: Beets, carrots, potatoes, and parsnip (re-sown). The pumpkin, zucchini, and squash can be permanently transplanted to the garden.

Harvesting: Arugula, spinach, lettuce, and chard.

It’s very important to water regularly in these periods (in case there is not enough rain).

july e1567282347116

July Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 57 to 88 F (14 to 31 Celsius)

Seeding: Beans, cucumbers, basil, Chinese cabbage, turnips, and radishes. Late in the month, you can reseed beets, corn, and Brussels sprouts.

Harvesting: Cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

 Make sure you regularly water to prevent drought, add mulch and straw to help retain water.

august e1567282191735

August Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 57 to 87 F (14 to 30 Celsius)

Seeding: Beets, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, and squash.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, artichokes, eggplants, and plums.                                                                

september e1567282326941

September Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 53 to 80 F (12 to 27 Celsius)

Seeding: Beets, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, corn, lettuce, onion, kale, peas, peppers, tomatoes, squash, and Brussel sprouts (it’s best to have seedlings for some of these veggies ready, such as broccoli, cabbage, etc.).

Harvesting: Onion, peppers, tomatoes, beans, raspberries, zucchini, and potatoes.

october e1567282303865

October Planting Zone 6

Temperatures: 51 to 68 F (10 to 20 Celsius)

Indoor: Basil, chives, oregano, parsley, and thyme.

Seeding: Asters, Dianthus, Celosia, garlic, grass, blueberries, flower bulbs, and winter lettuce.

November

November Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 41 to 58 F (5 to 14 Celsius)

Seeding: Last chance to plant spring bulbs, winter lettuce, and spinach – also thin them.

Harvest: Any remaining carrots, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Pruning: Any perennials (except roses and spring flowers), should be pruned to the height of 2-3 inches. Prune roses until they are 1 foot tall.

Clean up the leaves, so you can use them as mulch or compost later.

december e1567282281382

December Planting Zone 6

Temperature: 33 to 47 F (2 to 8 Celsius)

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

Protect your crops in tunnels and greenhouses. Add covers, straw, and mulch.

If you are growing asparagus, trim them.

Remove all the rotten veggies and plants, to prevent pests and disease.

Protect your trees and install bird feeders in your garden, to help them through the winter.

Zone 5 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Zone 5 Planting Schedule

planting zones america e1567282555219

Hardiness Zones - Planting Months

This planting calendar schedule will take you through each month of the year, for zone 5.

For those of you in the UK and Europe, this guide can be applied.  If you are on a different continent, the conditions will vary, as it can be a tropical or dry heat.

Planting zones, are areas of hardiness.  A planting guide, that enables us to know when to plant vegetables, fruit and flowers. Each area within a zone has similar growing conditions, this standardization gives us a good guide to what we can grow and when to grow.

US Zones + Temperatures

u.s.a hardiness planting zones chart 1 to 10

UK Hardiness Zones

Uk zone map hardiness e1567282703152

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

january e1567282415278

January Planting Zone 5

Temperature: -20 to -10 F (-23 to -28 Celsius)

Indoors: Microgreens, such as; arugula, spinach, watercress, lettuce, broccoli sprouts, bean sprouts, etc.

february e1567282437332

February Planting Zone 5

Temperature: -20 to -10 F (-23 to -28 Celsius)

For both January and February, zone 5 is a quiet month.  These are cold months where little can be done in the garden.

The same indoor preparations are continued from January.

march e1567282458201

March Planting Zone 5

Temperature: 26 to 42 F (-3 to 6 Celsius)

Indoors: Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers

Seeding: Lettuce, carrots, parsley, radishes, peas, and potatoes

Keep in mind, that most of the plants need to be sown indoors, at least 6-8 weeks before being transplanted outdoors.

april e1567282490814

April Planting Zone 5

Temperature: 45 to 61 F (7 to 16 Celsius)

Seeding: Spinach, radishes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, and potatoes. Transplant cabbage, tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings outside. If there is any chance of frost, protect them with farmer’s fabric.

May

May Planting Zone 5

Temperature: 44 to 71 F (7 to 21 Celsius)

Seeding: Beets, beans, cabbage, carrots, chard, lettuce, onion, potato, turnips, and radishes. At the end of May, you can transplant melons, tomatoes, peppers, and squash outside.

Flowers: Summer bulbs, asters. Plant new roses (prune old roses).

Harvesting: Peas, spinach, lettuce, asparagus, and radishes.

Pruning: Viburnums, forsythia, and other shrubs that bloom in spring.

Now it’s time to plant or transplant shrubs and trees before the summer heat comes.

june e1567282532977

June Planting Zone 5

Temperatures: 57 to 75 F (14 to 24 Celsius)

Seeding: Chard, kale, summer lettuce. Carrots, beets, radishes, and parsnips can be re-sown.

Harvesting: Lettuce, spinach, radishes, and turnips.

july e1567282347116

July Planting Zone 5

Temperature: 69 to 84 F (20 to 29 Celsius)

Seeding: Beans, cucumbers, basil, Chinese cabbage, turnips, and radishes. Late in the month, you can reseed beets, corn, and Brussels sprouts.

Harvesting: Cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

 Make sure you regularly water to prevent drought, add mulch and straw to help retain water.

august e1567282191735

August Planting Zone 5

Start your fall garden

Zone 5

Temperature: 61 to 78 F (16 to 26 Celsius)

Seeding: Beets, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, and squash.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, artichokes, eggplants, and plums.                                        

september e1567282326941

September Planting Zone 5

Temperature: 53 to 75 F (12 to 24 Celsius)

Seeding: Beets, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, corn, lettuce, onion, kale, peas, peppers, tomatoes, squash, and Brussel sprouts (it’s best to have seedlings for some of these veggies ready, such as broccoli, cabbage, etc.).

Harvesting: Onion, peppers, tomatoes, beans, raspberries, zucchini, and potatoes.

october e1567282303865

October Planting Zone 5

Temperature: 42 to 60 F (5 to 15 Celsius)

Indoor: Basil, chives, oregano, parsley, and thyme.

Seeding: Asters, Dianthus, Celosia, garlic, grass, blueberries, flower bulbs, and winter lettuce.

November

November Planting Zone 5

Temperature: 33 to 54 F (1 to 12 Celsius)

Seeding: Garlic, flower bulbs, winter lettuce, and asters.

Harvesting: Harvest all the remaining root veggies.

Pruning: Any perennials (except roses and spring flowers), should be pruned to the height of 2-3 inches. Prone roses until they are 1 foot tall.

december e1567282281382

December Planting Zone 5

Temperature: 32 to 43 F (1 to 6 Celsius)

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

Pruning: Evergreen trees, shrubs (you can use the pruning for decoration). Protect your trees with protective sheets and burlap.

Protect your crops in tunnels and greenhouses (winter lettuce, spinach, radish, etc.). Add covers, straw, and mulch.

What Month to Plant Vegetables

planting zones america e1567282555219

Which Month to Plant Vegetables?

planting zones america e1567282555219

Hardiness Zones - Planting Months

Planting zones are areas of hardiness.  A planting guide, that enables us to know when to plant vegetables, fruit, and flowers. Each area within a zone has similar growing conditions, this standardization gives us a good guide to what we can grow and when to grow.

This calendar schedule will take you through each month of the year, for zones 5 to 10. For those of you in the UK and Europe, this guide can be applied.  If you are on a different continent, the conditions will vary, as it can be a tropical or dry heat.

US Zones + Temperatures

u.s.a hardiness planting zones chart 1 to 10

UK Hardiness Zones

Uk zone map hardiness e1567282703152

Planting Calendar Schedule - Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10

january e1567282415278

January Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: -20 to -10 F (-23 to -28 Celsius)

Indoors: Microgreens, such as; arugula, spinach, watercress, lettuce, broccoli sprouts, bean sprouts, etc.

Zone 6

Temperature: -10 to -0 F (-18 to -23 Celsius)

Indoors: Parsley, onion, leeks, and celery.

Flowers: Begonias, pansies, snapdragons, and delphiniums. You will need to help them grow with some artificial lighting, as the natural light might not be strong enough yet.

Parsley and celery will need a number of weeks to germinate, so it’s a good idea to start early. Growing onion seedlings is also a good idea, as they have higher chances of producing healthy onions than the bulbs.

Zone 7

Temperature: 0 to 10 F (-12 to -18 Celsius)

Indoors: Parsley, onion, leeks, and celery. End of January you can add: cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli. As in flowers, you can start seeding geraniums, as they take longer to grow into seedlings.

Zone 8

Temperature: 10 to 20 F (-7 to -12 Celsius)

Indoors: Parsley, onion, leeks, and celery. At the end of January, you can also add broccoli, kale, peppers, and cabbage.

Seeding: If the soil is ready, you can sow carrots, radishes, and beets (make sure to protect them).

Flowers: Pansies, poppies, Nigella and Calendula

Zone 9

Temperature: 20 to 30 F (-1 to -7 Celsius)

Zone 10  

Temperatures: 30 to 40 F (5 to -1 Celsius)

 

For zones 9 and 10;

Indoors: Kale, peppers, tomatoes, squash, basil, and melons

Seeding: If the weather is favorable; transplant cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage seedlings outside, but make sure you protect them.

You can also seed early lettuce, onions, carrots, cabbage, radishes, beets, turnips, kale, parsley, and spinach.

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

february e1567282437332

February Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: -20 to -10 F (-23 to -28 Celsius)

Zone 6

Temperature: -10 to -0 F (-18 to -23 Celsius)

When it comes to zone 5 and 6, the same things apply to January and February (look at zones 5 and 6 in January).

Zone 7

Temperature: 0 to 10 F (-12 to -17 Celsius)

Indoors: Kale, peppers, tomatoes, squash, basil, and melons

Seeding: Beets, carrots, onion, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, spinach, parsley, kale, and potatoes

At this point, you might want to protect the vegetables in polytunnels, with farmer’s fabric and similar.

Zone 8

Temperature: 10 to 30F (-12 to -1 Celsius)

During February zone 8, the same rules apply like in zone 7, the only difference is, that you can start planting 2-3 weeks earlier.

Zone 9

Temperature: 20 to 35 F (-7 to 1.6 Celsius)

Zone 10

Temperature: 30 to 40 F (5 to -1 Celsius)

 

For zones 9 and 10;

For zone 9 and 10, all the rules of January apply. If the January was too cold to plant early lettuce, onions, carrots, cabbage, radishes, beets, turnips, kale, parsley, and spinach, February is the time to do it. Make sure you protect the veggies with protective fabric or place them in a polytunnel or greenhouse.

You can also transplant cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage seedlings to a tunnel, and plant peas.

march e1567282458201

March Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 26 to 42 F (-3 to 6 Celsius)

Indoors: Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers

Seeding: Lettuce, carrots, parsley, radishes, peas, and potatoes

Keep in mind, that most of the plants need to be sown indoors, at least 6-8 weeks before being transplanted outdoors.

Zone 6

Temperature: 34 to 54 F (1 to 12 Celsius)

Indoors: Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers (it’s still time)

Seeding: Lettuce, carrots, parsley, radishes, peas, and potatoes.  Flowers: Rose bushes can be planted.

Zone 6 is busier in March. If you have seedlings that you started indoors (broccoli, cabbage, parsley, etc.) now is the time to get them out.

Zone 7

Temperature: 38 to 56 F (3 to 13 Celsius)

Indoors: Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

Seeding: Chives, rosemary, thyme, potatoes, asparagus, carrots, beets, lettuce, kohlrabi, radishes, and turnips. Swiss chard can be planted at the end of March.

Asparagus will grow happily with parsley as companion plants

Kohlrabi will grow well around beets, onions, potatoes, and lettuce

Zone 8

Temperature: 51 to 74 F (10 to 23 Celsius)

Indoors: Tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers.

Seeding: Chives, rosemary, potatoes, thyme, asparagus, carrots, beets, lettuce, kohlrabi, radishes, turnips, and Swiss chard.

End of March (seeding), you start with pepper and tomato seedlings, cucumbers, corn, and squash (if the conditions are favorable). It’s better to harden them in a tunnel or greenhouse before planting outdoors.

The veggies planted at the end of March, still need to be protected with farmer’s fabric or in a polytunnel.

Zone 9

Temperature: 54 to 78 F (12 to 26 Celsius)

Seeding: Transplant cabbage and broccoli outside. You can plant; Spinach, carrots, kohlrabi, radishes, lettuce, potatoes, asparagus, rosemary, chives, and thyme.

If you have a greenhouse or a polytunnel, you can start to harden your eggplant, tomato and pepper seedlings. Corn, cucumber, and squash can already be planted outside.

Zone 10

Temperature: 56 to 78 F (13 to 26 Celsius)

You can plant some things, that can also be planted in zones 5-9, but it’s important to consider that some more “cold-loving” veggies, can be inappropriate to be sown in zone 10, in March (Look at January and February for zone 10).Seeding: Leafy greens, cucumbers, and watermelon. Transplant peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant seedlings, and surround them with compost.

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April Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 45 to 61 F (7 to 16 Celsius)

Seeding: Spinach, radishes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, and potatoes. Transplant cabbage, tomato, eggplant, and pepper seedlings outside. If there is any chance of frost, protect them with farmer’s fabric.

Zone 6

Temperature: 47 to 67 F (8 to 20 Celsius)

In April, the same rules apply for zones 5 and 6, the only difference is, you can start 10-14 days earlier if the conditions are right.

Zone 7

Temperature: 49 to 67 F (9 to 20 Celsius)

Seeding: Bush and pole beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, watermelons, cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, and squash. Transplant peppers and tomatoes outside.

Tips:

Eggplants grow well with peas, beans, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, and spinach.

Squash and watermelon, are good companions for corn and beans.

Zone 8

Temperature: 50 to 72 F (10 to 22 Celsius)

The same rules apply to zone 8 as they do for zone 7. The only difference is, you can start planting a few weeks sooner (if the weather allows).

Zone 9

Temperature: 63 to 81 F (17 to 27 Celsius)

Zone 10

Temperatures: 68 to 82 F (20 to 28 Celsius)

Zone 9 and 10 are very similar to zone 7 and 8 in this case.

Seeding: Start sewing bush and pole beans, corn, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. You can also plant ginger.

Sweet potato is a good companion to beets and parsnip.

Ginger grows well with legumes (beans, peas) and with chili peppers.

May

May Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 44 to 71 F (7 to 21 Celsius)

Zone 6

Temperature: 54 to 71 F (12 to 22 Celsius)

This information is for zones 5 and 6;

Seeding: Beets, beans, cabbage, carrots, chard, lettuce, onion, potato, turnips, and radishes. At the end of May, you can transplant melons, tomatoes, peppers, and squash outside.

Flowers: Summer bulbs, asters. Plant new roses (prune old roses).

Harvesting: Peas, spinach, lettuce, asparagus, and radishes.

Pruning: Viburnums, forsythia, and other shrubs that bloom in spring.

Now it’s time to plant or transplant shrubs and trees before the summer heat comes.

Zone 7

Temperature: 57 to 77 F (14 to 25 Celsius)

Zone 8

Temperature: 57 to 78 F (14 to 26 Celsius)

This information is for zones 7 and 8;

Seeding: Beans, melons, squash. Planting tomatoes, peppers and sweet potatoes outside.

Flowers: Marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, verbena, zinnia, tithonia, and Nicotiana.

Plant: Citrus trees and berry bushes.

Harvesting: Spinach, lettuce, and radishes.

Tips: Prune trees after they finished flowering. Keep a close watch at any fungal problems (due to the rainy season).

Zone 9

Temperature: 60 to 83 F (15 to 28 Celsius)

Zone 10

Temperature: 66 to 95 F (19 to 35 Celsius)

This information is for both, zones 9 and 10;

Seeding: Melons, squash, cantaloupes, and beans. Plant tomatoes, peppers, and sweet potatoes outside.

Flowers: Marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, verbena, zinnia, tithonia, and Nicotiana.

Plant: Citrus trees, berry bushes, and spring bulbs.

Harvesting: Spinach, lettuce, radishes, and turnips.

Tips:

Make sure all the plants get plenty of water.

You can still continue to plant citrus trees and berry bushes.

All the house plants should be brought back inside.

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June Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperatures: 57 to 75 F (14 to 24 Celsius)

Seeding: Chard, kale, summer lettuce. Carrots, beets, radishes, and parsnips can be re-sown.

Harvesting: Lettuce, spinach, radishes, and turnips.

Zone 6

Temperature: 53 to 84 F (12 to 29 Celsius)

Zone 7

Temperature: 67 to 85 F (19 to 30 Celsius)

This information is for zones 6 and 7;

Seeding: Beets, carrots, potatoes, and parsnip (re-sown). The pumpkin, zucchini, and squash can be permanently transplanted to the garden.

Harvesting: Arugula, spinach, lettuce, and chard.

It’s very important to water regularly in these periods (in case there is not enough rain).

Zone 8

Temperature: 58 to 87 F (15 to 31 Celsius)

Zone 9

Temperature: 74 to 90 F (23 to 32 Celsius)

Zone 10

Temperature: 75 to 92 F (24 to 35 Celsius)

This information applies for zones 8-10;

Seeding: Tomatoes, corn, melons, cucumbers, and beans.

Harvest: Asparagus, beans, spring cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, young onions, peas, spinach, early potatoes, chard, and kohlrabi.

It’s very important to water regularly in these periods (in case there is not enough rain). Especially in zones 9 and 10.

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July Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 69 to 84 F (20 to 29 Celsius)

Zone 6

Temperature: 57 to 88 F (14 to 31 Celsius)

This information is for zone 5 and 6;

Seeding: Beans, cucumbers, basil, Chinese cabbage, turnips, and radishes. Late in the month, you can reseed beets, corn, and Brussels sprouts.

Harvesting: Cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

 Make sure you regularly water to prevent drought, add mulch and straw to help retain water.

Zone 7

Temperature: 72 to 104 F (22 to 40 Celsius)

Zone 8

Temperature: 78 to 104 F (26 to 41 Celsius)

This information is for zone 7 and 8;

Seeding: Beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, squash, pumpkins, arugula, beets, broccoli, dill, cilantro, kale, spinach, summer lettuce, and Brussels sprouts.

Harvesting: Cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

Make sure you regularly water to prevent drought, add mulch, and straw to help retain water.

Zone 9

Temperature: 83 to 106 F (28 to 41 Celsius)

Zone 10

Temperature: 77 to 97 F (15 to 35 Celsius)

This information is for zones 9 and 10;

Seeding: Eggplants, peppers, sweet potatoes, okra, cilantro, tomatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, and transplanted watermelons. Harvesting: Lettuce, spinach, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, runner beans, and zucchini.

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August Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 61 to 78 F (16 to 26 Celsius)

Zone 6

Temperature: 57 to 87 F (14 to 30 Celsius)

This information is for zone 5 and 6;

Seeding: Beets, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, and squash.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, artichokes, eggplants, and plums.

Zone 7

Temperature: 67 to 80 F (20 to 31 Celsius) and 79 to 102 F (26 to 39 Celsius)

Zone 8

Temperature: 82 to 104 F (28 to 40 Celsius)

This information is for zones 7 and 8;

Seeding: Beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, early corn, early cucumber, lettuce, kale, early peppers, spinach, early tomatoes, squash, and onions.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and eggplants.

Zone 9

Temperature: 71 to 95 F (22 to 35 Celsius)

Seeding: Broccoli, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, turnips, early watermelon, early peppers, and pumpkins.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and potatoes.                  

Zone 10

Temperature: 76 to 91 F (25 to 33 Celsius)

Seeding: Broccoli, celery, cauliflower, eggplant, okra, cucumbers, peas, tomatoes, turnips, early watermelon, early peppers, summer and winter squash, pumpkins.

Harvesting: Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, and potatoes.                                                                                                                                       

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September Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 53 to 75 F (12 to 24 Celsius)

Zone 6

Temperature: 53 to 80 F (12 to 27 Celsius)

This information is for zones 5 and 6;

Seeding: Beets, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, corn, lettuce, onion, kale, peas, peppers, tomatoes, squash, and Brussel sprouts (it’s best to have seedlings for some of these veggies ready, such as broccoli, cabbage, etc.).

Harvesting: Onion, peppers, tomatoes, beans, raspberries, zucchini, and potatoes.

Zone 7

Temperature: 76 to 91 F (25 to 33 Celsius)

Harvesting: Onion, apples, raspberries, zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes and beans.

Seeding: Beans, broccoli, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, spinach, peas, squash, and Brussels sprouts.

Zone 8

Temperature: 60 to 81 F (15 to 27 Celsius)

Harvesting: Onions, apples, tomatoes, beans, raspberries, zucchini, and potatoes.

Seeding: Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, beets, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, spinach, peas, squash and Brussels sprouts, beans, cauliflower, and kale. Cabbage, broccoli, and squash are better when started from seedlings.

Zone 9

Temperature: 75 to 100 F (24 to 38 Celsius) and 89 to 64 F (17 to 32 Celsius)

Harvesting: Onions, apples, tomatoes, beans, zucchini, and potatoes.

Seeding: Spinach, tomatoes, peppers, peas, parsley, onions, lettuce, Endive, kohlrabi, kale, cucumbers, corn, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, beets, beans, and Brussels sprouts.

Zone 10

Temperature: 75 to 89 F (24 to 32 Celsius)

Harvesting: Onion, apples, beans, zucchini, potatoes, and tomatoes.

Seeding: Endive, eggplant, kohlrabi, kale, cucumbers, corn, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, peas, parsley, onions, lettuce, broccoli, beets, beans, Brussels sprouts, and celery.

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October Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 42 to 60 F (5 to 15 Celsius)

Zone 6

Temperatures: 51 to 68 F (10 to 20 Celsius)

Zone 7

Temperature: 59 to 81 F (15 to 27 Celsius)

Zone 8

Temperatures: 64 to 89 F (18 to 32 Celsius)

Zone 9

Temperature: 53 to 78 F (12 to 25 Celsius)

Zone 10

Temperature: 68 to 85 F (20 to 30 Celsius)

This information is for zones 5 – 10;

Indoor: Basil, chives, oregano, parsley, and thyme.

Seeding: Asters, Dianthus, Celosia, garlic, grass, blueberries, flower bulbs, and winter lettuce.

November

November Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 33 to 54 F (1 to 12 Celsius)

Seeding: Garlic, flower bulbs, winter lettuce, and asters.

Harvesting: Harvest all the remaining root veggies.

Pruning: Any perennials (except roses and spring flowers), should be pruned to the height of 2-3 inches. Prone roses until they are 1 foot tall.

Zone 6

Temperature: 41 to 58 F (5 to 14 Celsius)

Seeding: Last chance to plant spring bulbs, winter lettuce, and spinach – also thin them.

Harvest: Any remaining carrots, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Pruning: Any perennials (except roses and spring flowers), should be pruned to the height of 2-3 inches. Prune roses until they are 1 foot tall.

Clean up the leaves, so you can use them as mulch or compost later.

Zone 7

Temperature: 45 to 66 F (10 to 19 Celsius)

Seeding: Last chance to plant spring bulbs, winter lettuce, and spinach.

Harvest: Any remaining carrots, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

If you planted any winter lettuce, spinach, and parsley, you need to protect them from upcoming frost.

At the beginning of the month, you can still plant shrubs, trees, and strawberries.

Clean up the leaves, so you can use them as mulch or compost later.

Zone 8

Temperature: 52 to 76 F (11 to 25 Celsius)

Everything mentioned in zone 7, also stands for zone 8.

In zone 8 you can still plant fruit trees.

Seeding: If you are using a greenhouse or a tunnel, you can plant; cabbage, broccoli, spinach, beets, carrots, peas, kale, strawberries, and winter lettuce.

Harvesting: If you have any tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers left, make sure you harvest them.

Clean up the leaves, so you can use them as mulch or compost later.

Zone 9

Temperature: 44 to 73 F (6 to 23 Celsius)

Seeding: Garlic and onion. Protect your lettuce, spinach, wildflowers, and strawberries.

Harvesting: Any remaining carrots, cabbage, kale, turnips, and broccoli.

Add compost around your citrus trees.

If you still have some green tomatoes on your plants, remove the plants with the roots, and hang them indoors. It’s a chance they will still ripen.

Clean the leaves for mulch and compost.

Zone 10

Temperature: 60 to 78 F (16 to 26 Celsius)

Harvest: Beans, squash, fruits, carrots, peas, cucumbers, kale, and lettuce. Remove any rotting fruit to prevent disease and pests.

Pruning: Raspberries

Tips: Cover the plants with farmer’s covers, sheets, straw, and mulch, to protect them from freezing.

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December Planting Zones

Zone 5

Temperature: 32 to 43 F (1 to 6 Celsius)

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

Pruning: Evergreen trees, shrubs (you can use the pruning for decoration). Protect your trees with protective sheets and burlap.

Protect your crops in tunnels and greenhouses (winter lettuce, spinach, radish, etc.). Add covers, straw, and mulch.

Zone 6

Temperature: 33 to 47 F (2 to 8 Celsius)

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

Protect your crops in tunnels and greenhouses. Add covers, straw, and mulch.

If you are growing asparagus, trim them.

Remove all the rotten veggies and plants, to prevent pests and disease.

Protect your trees and install bird feeders in your garden, to help them through the winter.

Zone 7

Temperature: 31 to 57 F (0 to 14 Celsius)

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

Clean up the remaining leaves, so you can use them as mulch or compost later. If you just leave them to rot, they might damage your grass. 

Clean and prepare your garden for winter. – Protect berries (cover and insulate with straw, and mulch). – Protect your fruit trees.

Protect your crops in tunnels and greenhouses. Add covers, straw, and mulch. If you are growing asparagus, trim them. – Remove all the rotten veggies and plants, to prevent pests and disease.

Zone 8

Temperature: 45 to 67 F (7 to 20 Celsius)

Seeding: Onions, beets, radishes, spinach, leafy greens, and chives – (protect them). Flowers: Verbena, pansies, daises, and petunias.

Plant: Trees, roses, and shrubs.

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

When root veggies grow over winter, they develop a sweeter flavor.- Remove rotten veggies and plants to prevent pests and disease.

Zone 9

Temperature: 36 to 56 F (2 to 13 Celsius)

Seeding: Onions, beets, radishes, spinach, leafy greens, and chives (greenhouse, tunnel).

Harvesting: Kale, Brussels sprouts, leeks, winter cabbage, and parsnips.

Pruning: Prune mature trees and shrubs. You can also plant new trees and shrubs.

Protect your peach trees and other fruit trees.

If you notice pest eggs on your fruit trees, use biological solutions to remove them.

Zone 10

Temperature: 52 to 73 F (11 to 23 Celsius)

Seeding: Onions, beets, radishes, spinach, leafy greens, and chives (greenhouse, tunnel) Seeding outside: Peas and Brussels sprouts.

Harvest: Fruit from citrus trees, beans, broccoli, melons, radishes, onions, and potatoes.

Remove all the rotten veggies and plants, to prevent pests and diseases. – Protect your fruit trees.

Protect your crops in tunnels and greenhouses. Add covers, straw, and mulch.

What is Crop Rotation and Why is it Important

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What is Crop Rotation and Why is it Important

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Introduction

Crop rotation systematically plants different crops in the same area, over different years or seasons. It also includes alternate planting of crops, that are deep and shallow-rooted. We will go through the advantages, with example charts and plans for 3 and 4 years.

Crop rotation is beneficial for many reasons;

Crop Rotation Advantages

  • Returning the essential nutrients to the soil
  • Deter pests and prevent plant disease
  • Reducing or stopping soil erosion
  • Improving the fertility and soil structure
  • Better weed control
  • Reducing the risk of crop death, due to disease or drought, and much more

Schedules

The rotation schedule differs due to different types of soil, climates and other factors. That means that different areas of the world might have very different rotation schedules. The rotation length also depends on individual needs. Short rotations don’t always provide the best balance for the crops and increasing the number of fields can sometimes complicate things, if we don’t know how to use it to our advantage.

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History of Crop Rotation

All over human history, there are traces of crop rotation in food production. People have first used it more than 1300 years ago, and most likely before that in ancient Egypt, and possibly even prior.

Around 800 BC, farmers in Europe started to use a simple system of crop rotation of two fields. They planted crops on one of the fields, while the other one rested.

Middle Ages

In the middle ages, a three-field system was implemented. Farmers started to split the land into three parts, and that brought them higher yields. One of the three fields was always left to rest. For the second one, they grew vegetables that would enrich the soil with nitrogen, such as peas, lentils, and beans. The third field was often used to grow different oats, rye, wheat, and barley.

Livestock Feed

Farmers from Flanders (some parts of France and Belgium) have discovered the four-field rotation. They added an additional field, used to grow fodder. Fodder was used to feed the livestock, which could then be bred all year round. This system helped with soil fertility and restoring its nutrients. Turnips and clover were used to add more nitrogen to the soil.

Modern Advances

The fundamental concepts, of more effective crop rotation systems, started to develop in the middle of the 19.th century. They presented three different classifications; the close-growing grains, sod-forming, and the cultivated row. Demands for land were increasing, and ideas to use the land better also increased. They started to convert pastures into the land, used to grow crops. Many improvements came from the area of Netherlands and Flanders, where they started to build canals, drain soil and improved soil restoration techniques.

Essential Gardening Equipment

Soil pH Testing 

You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.

Germination

The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon

Spade

A trusted spade is a gardeners best friend, it helps you do the work. A long handled spade is the most effective type and this DeWit with a lifetime guarantee is our favorite – see the quality at Amazon.

Gardening Tool Set

For the finer work in the garden, we need those handy tools to help us cultivate. One that you can carry around in the garden is best and we like this well designed set with super reviews at Amazon.

Greenhouse

Every advanced gardener has a greenhouse and with so many benefits how can we do without. The acceleration and growth rate when using a greenhouse is worth the cost. The Exaco 116 square foot with safety glass is ideal at Amazon. On a budget see the poly tunnel at Amazon.

Dehydrating

One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years and the flavor is amazing. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.

Plant Deficiency Guide

Advantages of Crop Rotation

As mentioned before, crop rotation is beneficial for many reasons, as it helps to improve the soil fertility, reduces soil erosion, provides better weed control, helps to stop pests and to prevent plant diseases.

Soil Exhaustion

If crop rotation is not applied, many plants can exhaust the soil, especially in the long term. Once the soil is exhausted and drained of nutrients, it’s going to be much harder to “revitalize” it, so it’s very important to preserve the soil quality as much as we possibly can. But there are many more benefits to crop rotation. We are going to talk about several benefits, including more detailed explanations. 

3.1. Enriching Soil with Nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of the most important nutrients for healthy plant growth. Despite a large percentage of nitrogen in the atmosphere, the plants can’t draw it directly from there. They mostly draw it from the soil.

Different legumes, such as; peas, beans, soybeans, lentils, and others, enrich the soil with nitrogen, and the effect lasts longer compared to artificial nitrites.

The nitrogen cycle
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Improving Soil Structure

Soil structure is very important to grow healthy plants. The best soil structure is airy and allows water and nutrients to pass through the roots. Good soil structure will also allow the roots to expand more easily.

Airy Soil

If the soil is hard and compressed, the plants won’t be able to develop healthy root systems, and that will result in poor plant health. When we rotate crops in the same area, we have to make sure that we switch between shallow and deep-rooted plants. This will make the soil airier, and allow the nutrients and water to get to the roots easier. Legumes will also improve the soil’s structure, and enrich it with the much-needed nitrogen.

Weed – Pest – Disease Resistance

When crop rotation was used in human history, it was largely linked to pest, weed, and disease prevention. Today, a lot of pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides are used, poisoning the environment. Many people stopped rotating crops and turned to “easier” practices, not taking into account all the negative consequences.

Pest and Diseases

Crop rotation can truly prevent the further growth of different pests and diseases. How? These pests and diseases, often rest over the wintertime and remain in the soil. If we plant the same vegetables in the same area again, we will give the pests a good start to regrow, reproduce, and spread further.

Pesticide Reduction

Since different diseases and pests are often linked to a certain type of crop, replacing that crop can prevent their growth and chase them away, (we have to plant veggies that don’t have problems with the same type of pests and disease or even repel them). Crop rotation is a well-tested method for pest management and a good way to reduce the use of pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.

Pollution

Soil

Using artificial fertilizer in the soil, to increase nitrogen levels can have severe consequences. It can increase nitrogen levels over the recommended level, destroying the balance of the ecosystem. A big part of excess nitrogen ends up in water systems, and also our water supply. Water-rich with nitrates can cause severe medical problems, especially in babies and small children.

Water

A big part of our water supply already has excessive levels of nitrates. This doesn’t affect only the farmer, who uses a lot of artificial fertilizer, but truly affects a wider population. Crop rotation is the perfect solution to naturally boost nitrogen levels, without polluting the water and the environment. The nitrogen produced by plants remains in the soil for longer than the one artificially added.

Saving Water

Crop rotation not only improves the structure of the soil, but it also increases its water-retaining properties. The water is retained longer, and it’s also more evenly spread to the roots. There are many benefits of better water retention, such as;

  • Using less water for irrigation
  • Reduces soil erosion
  • Healthier crops
  • Nutrients stay in the soil for longer
  • Lower risk of drought and flooding

Higher Yields

Many studies have shown, that crop rotation indeed increases yields. The best results went as high as a 50 % increase. When applied properly, the yields can easily double. All this can be achieved, because crop rotation provides you with a healthier soil, increased nutrients and decrease of pests, disease, and weeds.

Nature and Health

This might be shocking and surprising, but thousands of people die every year, by pesticide poisoning, and health problems related to pesticide use, come in millions. Pesticides are used excessively, and a big part never actually reaches the pest, but it does reach the people who eat the produce, and the environment.

It is proven, that more than 90 % of pesticides are released in the environment, poisoning nature, animals, and people, never reaching the actual pest. Crop rotation can highly decrease pests, weeds, and disease problems, and it’s by far the healthiest and cheapest option to increase yields and prevent pests and disease, in existence.

Prevent – Reduce Soil Erosion

Many farmers and gardeners all over the world, face the problem of soil erosion. The nutrients and the water will runoff, and the soil is more susceptible to drought and flooding.

  • Crop rotation has been proven to reduce soil erosion by up to 90 %

When a part of the soil is left alone, the soil has the opportunity to rest and replenish. Often legumes like clover, beans, peas, etc. can be planted to increase nitrogen levels. Also switching between shallow and deep-rooted plants will improve the soil structure and prevent the loss of nutrients. Soil structure is improved, the soil’s capacity to retain water also improves, making it less likely to be damaged by heavy rainfall.

Disadvantages of Crop Rotation

The advantages of crop rotation, most definitely outweigh the few potential disadvantages. However, there are a few things that we have to take into consideration;

Diverse crops

For crop rotation to fully function, we have to plant different crops almost every time. If a farmer wishes to specialize in limited types of crops, this might pose a problem. But at the same time, producing the same crop all over again, on the same piece of land, will cause many different problems and eventually exhaust the soil.

Yield Depletion

The yields will get lower and less healthy every year. So, even if we wish to grow the same crop all over again (on the same piece of land), crop rotation is necessary, to prevent soil exhaustion, pests, disease, and also to increase yields.

Know-how

Our crops are like our babies, we don’t want them to come to any harm.  If we don’t rotate crops properly, we could jeopardize them. Guessing which crops to rotate will eventually lead to a bad year in your garden and it may harm the soil for a number of years, plus involve heavy labor to turn the soil back to a healthy state.

This article will give you plenty of information to make it a success.  Be sure to read on, and have the know-how to make crop rotation a success.

Garden Arrangement

With no crop rotation, many gardeners, continue planting their crops in the same places year on year.  Then manure, lime, fertilizers are added to protect and maintain.  Crop rotation needs some planning and rearranging of the garden each year.

Records need to be kept and a cycle maintained.  Depending on your rotation, you may need to move structures, such as trellises, to keep to a plan. So there is more work than normal initially, but this can save a lot of time in the future.  Keeping a healthy garden requires less groundwork to be done in the long run.

Effects of not rotating

There are many negative effects of not rotating your crops, which are very evident if you go through the list of benefits of crop rotation. Just to name a few effects of not rotating your crops;

  • Decreased soil quality and loss of important nutrients (soil can completely exhaust over time)
  • Soil erosion
  • Soil loses its water and nutrient retaining properties
  • Pests and disease spread and reproduce more every year
  • Pesticides and herbicides required
  • Decreased yields, and overtime complete soil exhaustion
  • Polluting the environment

Hungry Vegetables

Certain vegetables use more nutrients than others. In the process, they exhaust the soil and leave very little nutrients for the plants that come after.

These vegetables include;

Different nutrients are taken from the soil, which means the soil can be depleted in many ways.

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Improve soil quality

On the other hand, some plants will enrich and improve your soil. Here is a list with short explanations;

Peas

The legume family, and provide the soil with nitrogen, improving fertility.

Red clover

This also fits in the legume family, providing that much necessary nitrogen. It also has water-retaining properties and prevents weed growth due to its density. It also attracts pollinators, and its roots improve soil texture!

Beans and fava beans

They are other members of the legume family, enriching the soil with nitrogen, and preventing excessive growth of weeds.

Borage

This is a beautiful and edible herb, with a flavor similar to cucumbers. Borage attracts pollinators (especially bees) and makes a great neighbor for strawberries.

Dandelion

Although they have a bad reputation. This versatile and healing plant that is also edible, pulls the nutrients from the depths of the surface. Of course, we have to let it grow in moderation.

Radishes

They are a vegetable that can be grown in a variety of soil. They are tasty and very good for you. After the season, the radishes can be left in the soil and will enrich it with nutrients and organic material, increasing the water retentive properties of the soil, overall improving its quality.

When to rotate

Crop rotation is ideally once a year.  This is to minimize the chance of soil depletion and soil infections.  The more year that you delay rotating, the more chance that problems will affect your soil.

Using a Spare Bed

If you have a spare bed, that you are going to rest in the crop rotation cycle, you will give your garden a greater chance of avoiding issues.  You could extend the rotation cycle to every two years, if only possible then. Some people only rotate every 3 years, but this carries a major risk to your crops, along with the chance of an undeveloped crop in the third year.

Companion Plants

Another method of crop rotation is to rotate the companion plants together (plants that naturally grow well together).  This system will work with nature and may extend your rotation periods. If for some reason a crop fails, it is best to rotate the following year.  But it is best not to wait for this to happen for the rotation to begin.  For best practice, rotate every year.

Spring or Fall

As most crops grow in the spring and summer months, it is best to rotate your crops after the harvesting season. If you are planting winter vegetables, you can begin the rotation cycle at the end of summer in the fall.  Otherwise, you can do it in early spring.

If you are planting winter lettuce or cabbage, make sure you rotate it to a different part of the garden than the spot where summer lettuce or cabbage were growing (never plant them in the same spot twice in a row). If you are not growing any crops in the winter, you can add compost or manure to your plot to allow is to develop over the winter and be ready for spring.

Standard Crop Rotation Groups 

Make a List

If you are working on a few different sections of the garden, make sure you make lists, to know what to rotate next year. Of course, you can also plant different vegetables in your garden, but this shows the veggies that you can always rotate together, just by switching sections next year, as shown in the example above.

Number of Sections

You can do this with any number of sections, but try to keep a variation and add plant legumes to add natural nitrogen. This crop rotation system is very simple and easy to follow. Starting with 4 different vegetable groups, dividing them into four different sections of your garden, and switching their spots next year (and the years to come).

Low Demanding Plants

Planting fewer demanding veggies, where the hungrier ones used to grow last year. As shown in the example, replacing root vegetables with legumes is a good option.

Greedy Vegetables

If you have the opportunity, you can leave one of the parts of your garden empty for a year, to let the soil rest and replenish. This is especially advised after growing “greedy vegetables”, such as; tomatoes, peppers, beets, corn, cabbage, broccoli, onion, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, and celery.

To begin, let’s divide our vegetables into four groups:

Divide your garden into 4 sections. Plant four different groups of vegetables in these 4 sections and always switch their places for the next season or year.

Let’s say we have sections A, B, C, D in our garden.

Year 1 - Crop Rotation Plan

Section A
Legumes
Section B
Leafy Vegetables
Section C
Root Vegetables
Section D
Fruit Bodied Veg
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Lima beans
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Leafy herbs
  • Cabbage
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Cucumbers
  • Melon
  • Squash

In the 2. year we switch different groups of vegetables to different sections, to improve soil quality, nutrients, increase yields and avoid diseases.

Year 2 - Crop Rotation Plan

Section A
Fruit Bodied Veg
Section B
Legumes
Section C
Leafy Vegetables
Section D
Root Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Cucumbers
  • Melon
  • Squash
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Lima beans
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Leafy herbs
  • Cabbage
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi

Ideally, for best practice we will have a spare section.  So that the soil can rest and replenish for a year.

Each section will not be used, within a 4 year period.  The section being rested can also be used to compost, light leafy waste – nothing too heavy or it not be ready for the following year.

Year 3 - Crop Rotation Plan

Section A

Root Vegetables

Section B

Fruit Bodied Veg

Section C

Legumes

Section D

Leafy Vegetables

Section E

Spare

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Carrots
  • Kohlrabi
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Eggplants
  • Cucumbers
  • Melon 
  • squash
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Lima beans
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Leafy herbs
  • Cabbage

SPARE

Rotate Companion Plants

Companion Plants

Plants that grow together well companion plants.  This can either, that deter pests from one another, having different needs from the soil to giving the soil the nutrients it needs.  For more information on companion plants, read our ultimate guide to companion plants here. Use the companion plant chart, for grouping ideas.  Select the crop you would like to grow, and grow the companions in that group – or just the ones you like.

Benefits

Companion plants are known to have great benefits for the surrounding plants.  It makes sense to combine crop rotation with companion plants.  In areas that have a greater variety of plants in, the depletion of the soil will be less, as they all won’t drain the soil of the same nutrient.

Disadvantages

Normally with crops, you will have rows of the same crops.  When grouping companions, it is best to scatter the plants in the beds, so that companion planting is effective. Therefore, your bed will be less structured, than normal, making it slightly more time consuming, when pruning and harvesting.

Overall

Mother nature knows best, so if we combine companion planting with, crop rotation, we can work with the plants, making them happy and we will reap the rewards when harvesting.

For more information about companion planting – read our article here

companion plants chart e1567283551365

Companion Plants + Legumes Crop Rotation

As we have mentioned, legumes provide the much-needed nitrogen to our soils.

Legume Structures

Normally we use a structure for our legumes to grow along.  For example, with have a cane tepee-shape, set in the ground.  Instead of moving this every year, we could keep it in place and on all of our sections. Another section may have a trellis, again we can keep this in place.

Legumes on all Sections

If we have 5 sections, that we are going to rotate.  We can have a legume structure on each.  Keep the structure in-situ and rotate the legumes every year to another section with a climbing structure.

Example

The example below has legumes on each section.  The rest of the group are companion plants.  In your plan, it is best to have a variety of plants, like marigolds and basil, as flowers and herbs have some of the highest properties when comes to deterring bugs.

Legume - Crop Rotation Plan

Section A

Section B

Section C

Section D

Section E

  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Peanuts

SPARE

  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Lettuce 
  • Marigolds
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Basil
  • Lettuce 
  • Beets
  • Radishes
  • Carrots

SPARE

Crop Rotation Common Field

Rotating larger areas

Rotation on big fields can be a little different than in the garden. Farmers often grow fewer crops and will rotate differently. Here are two examples of how to rotate larger fields. There are three main groups that the crops are divided into; grains, legumes, and cash crops.

  • Grains – maize (corn), rice, oats, barley, wheat, and more.
  • Legumes – beans, peas, soybeans, cowpeas, combinations of beans.

Crops to sell for profit (cash crops) 

  • Cotton, cannabis, sunflowers, rapeseed, different fruits, sesame, and more.

Industrial Crop Rotation Examples

Year 1

• Section 1: corn

• Section 2: green beans

• Section 3: cotton

Year 2

• Section 1: cotton

• Section 2: corn

• Section 3: green beans

Year 3

• Section 1: green beans

• Section 2: cotton

• Section 3: corn

Year 1

• Section 1: barley

• Section 2: lava beans

• Section 3: sunflowers

Year 2

• Section 1: sunflowers

• Section 2: barley

• Section 3: lava beans

Year 3

• Section 1: lava beans

• Section 2: sunflowers

• Section 3: barley

Crop Rotation Overview

After discussing all the benefits of crop rotation, there is no reason not to implement it in every possible growing area. No other gardening technique will allow you bigger yields, fewer pests, and disease, and protect and improve your soil and the environment, as much as crop rotation.

With a little know-how, this technique will truly improve your gardening experience in ways that you have never imagined. There is no reason to lose soil quality and poison the environment and yourself, with highly dangerous pesticides and herbicides that end up in our drinking water.

The use of crop rotation has been around for thousands of years, and only recently, we have reduced this useful practice and replaced it with unsustainable and toxic alternatives. For all the benefits that it brings, it’s definitely worth learning about and implementing it everywhere to naturally boost your crops, and protect the earth that provides us with nutritious fruits and vegetables.

The ideal crop rotation is using, companion plants along with legumes on all sections.  Working with nature will be the most rewarding for all. The plants are happy, the soil is happy and we are super-happy!

Happy rotating!