Wednesday, January 2, 2013

When to Plant in the Garden

Yes, I know the weather is cold in NJ right now, but that's a good time to start thinking about and plan your spring planting.

Catalogs full of seeds and plants will be arriving soon to further motivate you. And, for those of you taking your smartphone into the garden, there are apps for this topic too.

You can just search on gardening or vegetables or flowers and plenty will show up.  Here is one app: When to Plant. which I found reviewed in Wired magazine. It's customized to your area by your ZIP code and a database of about 5,000 weather stations across North American, so that the planting information is correct for your climate.

I am one of those gardeners who keeps his own calendar of planting, sprouting, blooming and harvest dates. But that doesn't help when I plant a new species. The app finds your average last spring and first fall frost dates and shows you the range of planting dates for more than 120 vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and cover crops.

There is also some basic growing information for each crop, including preferred soil type, sun requirements, recommended spacing, and sowing and harvesting how-to tips.

The app also gives you access to National Weather Service long-range forecast maps (U.S. only) so you can see projected temperatures, precipitation, weather hazards and drought.

The app is designed for iPhone and iPad, and is available in the Apple App Store for $1.99.

There are also free apps, like "Vegetable Planting Guide" which is available for iPhone and Android, so check your phone's app store.

No smartphone?  You can go to the website for The Old Farmer's Almanac and just put in your Zip code to find out the best planting dates for seeds inside and outside in your area.

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