Phenology is the study of observing nature signs, such as the blooming and leafing of specific plants, and the life cycles of specific animals and insects, to determine the best time for planting particular crops and other garden pursuits. It is a system that has been used for thousands of years.
Regardless of our modern calendar, Mother Earth has her own schedule. And by observing the signs she provides, one can make valuable connections between occurrences in the natural world and the best timing for garden endeavors.
Here are some of the most well known planting signs:
- Plant peas when forsythia and/or daffodils bloom, when red winged blackbird females return, or when chickadees build their nests
- Plant potatoes when the first dandelions bloom
- Plant beets, carrots, cabbage family crops, lettuce and spinach when lilac leaves unfurl
- Plant beans, cucumbers and squash when lilacs are in full bloom
- Transplant eggplant, melon, and peppers when irises are in full bloom
- Plant corn when apple blossoms begin to fall, or when oak leaves are the size of a squirrel's ear
- Plant perennials when maple leaves unfurl
- Seed fall cabbage and broccoli when catalpa trees and mock-orange bushes bloom
- Set out tomatoes when daylilies start to bloom, or when flowering dogwoods are in bloom
Of course, it's essential to use the phenology signs for your local region, and best to track your own observations and experimentation over time to further hone in on Mother Earth's schedule. Something that I am venturing to do.
Until then, peas and love.