Planning on planting a garden this year? We’ve created a monthly checklist so that you can begin prepping your garden now! Believe it or not, there are a lot of tasks that can be done early in the year to create a beautiful and bountiful harvest.
*Most of us in the Puget Sound region are in plant growing zone 8b, however you may be in 8a if you live closer to the mountains. For the purposes of this blog, our checklist and plant suggestions will be for growing zone 8b.*
- Do inventory. What tools do you currently own, and which ones might you need? Bartell’s has a lot of gardening tools and accessories, such as trowels, spades, garden gloves, watering cans, flower pots, clippers, and more!
- Are you adding raised beds this year? It’s a great time to build your raised bed boxes or repurposing an old ladder or trellis for those vertical veggies like tomatoes and peas.
- Clean pots and garden tools so they’re all ready to go!
- Create your garden plan. Which veggies, fruits, flowers, and trees will you plant? Where will they go? How much space do they need? Do they need direct sunlight or partial shade?
- Start clearing out winter weeds and top-dress your garden beds with compost.
- Prune apple trees, pear trees, and rose bushes.
- Remove fall annuals that have died and cut back perennials.
- If you’re starting from seeds rather than sprouts, you can start seeding indoors with kale, onions, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, radishes, carrots, peas, beets, and cauliflower.
- Buy your seeds! Bartell Drugs has a ton of different PNW-friendly seeds from Ed Hume Seeds, based locally out of Puyallup!
- Be on slug watch. If you’ve had a slug problem in the past, it’s best to get a head start on spray.
- Prune winter-damaged evergreens.
- Finish up weeding if not completed in February.
- Later in the month, plant bare root fruit trees and bushes.
- Start warm season seeds like basil, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers indoors.
- Plant gladiola and begonia bulbs in the second half of the month.
- At the end of the month and into April, you can plant those that you seeded in February (broccoli, cauliflower, onions, etc.) into the garden.
- Start seeding brussel sprouts, corn, cucumber, and squash indoors.
- Plant swiss chard, salad greens, strawberries, and hardy herbs like oregano, mint, dill, and parsley.
- Cut back bulb blossoms that have died as close to the ground as possible.
- Plant summer bulbs like gladiolas, dahlias, and begonias and annual flowers like snapdragons, calendula, marigold, and pansies.
- Plant container-grown perennials and azaleas.
- As plants and flowers begin to sprout, keep a watchful eye on those slugs! Use a gentle slug spray or you can use various natural and eco-friendly ways to deter them, like sprinkling used coffee grounds into your garden or planting marigolds along the perimeter of your garden.
- If you didn’t already start warm seeds inside, now’s your last chance!
- Toward the middle/end of the month, transfer April’s seedlings and other warm season plants and veggies outdoors – cucumber, squash, tomatoes, basil, eggplant, peppers, etc.
- Keep after weeds as they pop up.
- Watch out for cold nights and be prepared to protect new transplants with garden covers. Try not to plant before outdoor nighttime temperatures are over 50°F
- Good plants to plant directly into the garden this month are: beans, radishes, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, and beets.
- If you planted any early harvest plants, you can begin to harvest them now! These include salad greens, rhubarb, kale, broccoli, and peas.
- Tidy up and trim azaleas, rhododendrons, tulips, daffodils, and other early bloomers.
- Plant those beautiful summer flowers like petunias, impatiens, sunflowers, and marigold.
- Start thinking about your fall garden if you plan to have one. You can start by making a list of what you’d like to plant and how much space they take.
- Sow pumpkin and winter squash outdoors if you plan to grow these.
- Continue to harvest all the delicious things as they are ready! Peas, salad greens, new baby potatoes (depending on when you planted them), and strawberries should all be popping up.
- Prune tomato plants as suckers form between the main stem and branches. The plant will be able to focus its energy on the production of fruit.
- If mulch has blown away a bit or decomposed, add a new layer.
- If May was a little too cold to plant/transfer the warm season crops, plant these in June.
- Mid to late June, start indoor seedlings of fall crops like brussel sprouts, fall cauliflower, fall broccoli, and kohlrabi.
- Stake any tall plants that might need some help as they grow.
- Get outdoors and explore other gardens, whether around your neighborhood, a nursery, or any of our local botanical gardens. You might discover a new beautiful flower you’d like to plant or some ferns that would look great in your back yard. Find inspiration for next year’s garden!
- Keeping plants properly watered as our weather heats up is critical. Mature plants should get a good soaking, while seedlings require just a light watering. Mornings are best for watering.
- Fall gardening planning is now! If you plan to have a fall garden, July is the month to start seeds indoors or in a pot for fall cabbage, fall broccoli, kale, fall and winter cauliflower, collards, swiss chard, and kohlrabi.
- You can plant turnips, parsnips, carrots, green onions, brussel sprouts, leeks, and beets directly into your garden for a fall harvest.
- There are also some herbs that will grow well into the fall, including rosemary, parsley, oregano, sage, and thyme.
- July is also a big harvest month! Pick all your lovely veggies, herbs, and fruits that have grown to full maturity. Pick at least every few days – you might be surprised how fast they mature, fall off, and go to waste. Did someone say salad?
- Keep an eye especially on zucchini. They grow quickly and if you miss a few days of checking they can end up monstrous! Extremely large zucchini are still edible, but they grow into a tough texture and are then best used for making zucchini bread (no complaints there!)
- Continue to weed and add mulch when necessary. Pro tip: If you cut young weeds with a garden hoe and let them lie in the sun all day, the sun should kill the roots by nighttime.
- Remove suckers from pear and apple trees as necessary. This will help the tree send nutrients to the branches that are growing fruit.
- Deadheading flowers should be done often, sometime even daily to get the most out of your flowers.
- A light spray of water daily on shrubs and bushes should help to keep spider mites at bay.
- August is often our hottest month of the year. Make sure you stay on top of watering without over-watering.
- August is still prime time for harvesting. Be sure to check every 1-2 days for fruit and vegetables that have matured and are ready to be picked.
- Add some natural fertilizer, since your bountiful garden has likely used up a lot of the nutrients. This is also a good time to add another layer of mulch with the hot days to keep soil moist.
- It’s time to plant those indoor seedlings outdoors: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, beets, carrots, parsnips, and radishes.
- If you’re adding a new lawn to your garden, late August and early September is an ideal time for this.
- Continue to deadhead annuals and perennials.
- Prune any dead tree limbs and broken branches.
- If you want to try growing your own garlic, order bulbs this month.
- Clean any birdbaths or fountains and replace them with fresh water to prevent algae growth.
- Harvest the remaining summer herbs.
- If you have leftover fruits or veggies that you won’t have a chance to eat, start canning or freezing them.
- As the weather cools off, plant trees and shrubs. Our upcoming wet weather will help them establish roots.
- Refresh your containers with fall-growing flowers like marigold, viola, and chrysanthemum to bring some color late in the season.
- Some type of camellias can flower through the winter! Plant these now in partial shade where they will be protected from the hottest sun midday.
- Plant spring bulbs in the ground like tulips and daffodils.
- If you want to try to grow next year’s garden with your own seeds, collect seeds from summer annuals and perennials. It can be a fun experiment if you’ve never done this before!
- Toward the end of the month when it is a little cooler, fertilize the lawn.
- Plant those garlic bulbs in the ground also at the end of the month.
- Finish weeding the garden before the first frost settles in.
- It’s time to pick some of those fall harvest plants! Plants like broccoli, cauliflower, squash, radishes, and lettuce will be ready to pick this month.
- Pruning, pruning, pruning – and weeding. It’s time to get the garden winter-ready.
- If you have fruit trees, gather and dispose of the fallen fruit in case they have pests or disease.
- If you didn’t already, plant spring bulbs in the ground. You can put it some wire caging to protect the bulbs from being eaten by burrowing critters.
- Plant your containers with winter-hardy shrubs. Dig some bulbs into them as well for an early burst of color in the spring.
- Cover your garden with a deep mulch to help protect it through the winter.
- Help our avian wildlife by putting out your bird feeders. The birds will thank you and you’ll have some backyard friends through the winter!