|Near Amana, Iowa|
I found an old tattered clipping in one of my garden books – and looking around the neighborhood this week, I thought it might be interesting. The clipping talks about watching plants around us to let nature tell us when to plant our own seeds and bedding plants, called phenology.
Here are some of the plant signs to watch for:
• Forsythia and daffodils blooming – plant peas, prune roses, fertilize the lawn the first time
• When regular lilacs are in first leaf – plant beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, lettuce and spinach.
• When regular Lilacs are in full bloom – plant beans, cucumbers and squash
• When lily of the valley are in full bloom – set out tomato plants
• When regular daylilies start to bloom, plant tomatoes and peppers
• When irises (regular ones, I think) bloom – transplant melon and pepper plants
• Plant potatoes when the first dandelion blooms (obviously, this isn’t usually Good Friday!)
John reminded me that even the trees can be fooled by the weather, but I think these hints would keep you pretty close to the mark in Iowa.
A couple of other old sayings that older gardeners swear by, including my mother-in-law, the goddess of the garden (she brought my “dead” houseplants back to life!)
• Silver maples show the lining of their leaves before a storm
• Plant aboveground crop vegetables on a waxing moon (from new to full). Plant underground crop vegetables and flowering bulbs on a waning moon (from full to new).
• Potatoes should be planted on Good Friday (never mind that the holiday varies almost a month)
I only wish my mother-in-law had lived long enough to see me finally “get it” about gardening.