Gardening can be filled with details that take time to accomplish all year-round. Your garden can benefit from attention during every month. Although most maintenance takes place from spring to frost, your garden should feel TLC during the winter, too. Here is a month-by-month to-do list to keep you and your garden on track.
- Get those plant and seed catalogs out and start planning next season's garden.
- Cut the branches off of your Christmas tree to use as mulch in the garden.
- Scout tree branches and limbs for signs of egg masses.
- More tips for January.
- Keep tabs on your houseplants. Make sure they are getting enough humidity. Check for pests.
- Cut branches of flowering shrubs like forsythia, pussy willow, quince and magnolia to bring inside for forcing.
- Inspect hemlocks for overwintering wooly adelgid.
- Prune non-stone fruit trees, grapes, and raspberries. Start the all-purpose spray regimen.
- Start seeds of slow-growing and cool-season vegetables like onions, leeks, parsley, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, and peppers.
- Begin removing mulch from around rose bushes.
- Plant your peas on St. Patrick's Day. (If there’s no snow stopping you.)
- Begin horticultural oil (dormant oil) applications where needed to control pests.
- More tips for March.
- Harden off and move cool-season crops to the garden.
- Plant asparagus roots and onion sets.
- Apply pre-emergent crabgrass killer after forsythia bloom.
- Remove mulch from on top of flowers.
- Re-mulch beds as necessary.
- Remove tent caterpillars and webs.
- Begin monitoring for signs of disease.
- More tips for April.
- Once your last frost date has passed, warm-season crops can be planted.
- Start seeds for melon and squash. Hold until the end of May to avert squash bugs and borers.
- Begin pinching annuals and perennials to make the plants fill in and produce more blooms.
- Prune evergreens when the new growth starts to turn a darker shade of green.
- Prune stone fruits (cherry, almond, peach, nectarine, plum) at bloom time.
- Stake tall perennials.
- Remove and dispose of azalea leaf galls before they turn white and release their spores.
- More tips for May.
- Prune flowering shrubs after the flowers begin to fade.
- Continue pinching flowers until July 4th.
- Deadhead and remove fading leaves from spring bloomers.
- Divide and transplant perennials.
- Take softwood cuttings from trees and shrubs to propagate new plants.
- Remove fallen fruits from below trees to prevent insect egg laying.
- Place red sticky sphere traps in apple trees to control apple maggot flies.
- Check undersides of rose leaves for rose slugs.
- Watch for scale infestations on Euonymus and pachysandra.
- Move houseplants outside.
- More tips for June.
- Stop pinching back flowers.
- Divide oriental poppies and bearded iris.
- Keep deadheading.
- Remove leaves infested by miners, to control spread.
- Succession plant beans, lettuce, radishes, and corn.
- Water newly planted trees and plants as necessary.
- Start seeds of fall crops like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower.
- More tips for July.
- Seed a fall crop of peas.
- Gather herbs and flowers for drying.
- Keep deadheading and harvesting.
- Begin taking cuttings for new plants.
- Sit and enjoy your garden in all its summer glory.
- More tips for August.
- Start moving houseplants indoors. Check for pests first.
- Seed a fall spinach crop.
- Seed cover crops on bare spots in the vegetable garden.
- Plant new trees and shrubs, to give them at least 6 weeks before frost.
- Plant spring flowering bulbs.
- Begin "dark treatments" with your saved Poinsettia plant.
- Dry and store tender bulbs before a frost.
- More tips for September.
- Plant garlic and shallots.
- Have your soil tested and amend as needed.
- Harvest Brussels sprouts after a hard frost.
- Clean up garden debris. Remove all vegetable plants and fallen fruit.
- Remove dead annuals from the garden, after a frost.
- Cut back perennial foliage to discourage overwintering pests. Leave flowers with seeds for the birds.
- Start raking and composting leaves.
- More tips for October.
- Finish amending the soil.
- Cover exposed garden soil with a layer of shredded leaves, for the winter.
- Wrap screening around fruit tree trunks often damaged by mice and voles.
- Keep watering until the ground temperature reaches 40 degrees F.
- Buy bulbs for winter forcing.
- Mulch rose bushes.
- More tips for November.
- If you can get to them, harvest any remaining root crops.
- Start rotating your houseplants, so they get equal light on all sides.
- Check your stored tender bulbs for rotor dryness.
- Start paperwhites and amaryllis for winter blooms.
- More tips for December.