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applestar
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Phenological (Nature's Signs) Planting Guide

OK, I'm intrigued now. We've had several discussions about Phenology -- which is planting by nature's signs. One collection of Phenological signs I've found is [url=https://www.ghorganics.com/Phenology.html]here[/url].

I want to start a master list of our own. Post your observations and I'll add them to the list so everything is in one place. Include the year, your location with USDA Zone and/or Sunset Zone, and relative date to last avearage last frost. Let's see what happens. If it turns out to be useful, we can stickify this thread. :wink:

******** PHENOLOGICAL (NATURE'S) SIGNS FOR GARDENING *******
jal_ut wrote:Spinach is the exception, you can plant that anytime from november until June. Not that it will grow through winter, but it will survive and get going as soon as the temperatures are favorable. I usually have some lettuce and spinach go to seed each year, then it comes up all over in the spring.
Found on Botanical Interests Windsor Fava beans pkt:
Cold winter climates: Very early spring, when soil temperatures are as low as 35° F. Sow “when the crocus emerge!â€
Last edited by applestar on Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:28 am, edited 15 times in total.

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applestar
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I have permission to consolidate jal_ut's planting schedule here. I'm going to start adding them as time-frame reference relative to last average frost. I'll keep editing the first post as more data come in so eventually, the overall format will be the same for easy reference. :wink:
When to plant depends on where you are. I plant pumpkins and squash on May 5. Melons on May 15. Cucumbers on June 1. Here the average last frost is May 18. So you see I am planting pumpkins two weeks before that date. Yes, some years I get frozen, but most years they make it.

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https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=129288#129288
The hardy plants that can be planted early are: Broccoli, Brussle Sprouts, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Radish, Spinach Turnip and Cauliflower.

Semi-hardy plants that can be planted about 2 weeks later are Beets, Carrots, Parsley, Parsnips, Potato, Swiss Chard.

Tender plants that can be planted on the average day of last frost are: Beans, Celery, Corn, Pumpkins, and winter squash.

Very tender plants that should be planted when danger of frost is past are: Cucumber, Peppers, Tomato, Summer Squash, Melons.

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I'm going to include in here when to put the overwintering indoor potted plants outside for the season. I don't want to carry them in and out, but put them out in the dappled shade to begin with to avoid sunburn, so the overnight low needs to be high enough for them. I've been working it out and so far, I have:


When tomatoes go out to harden off (upper 30's, 40's, protect from occasional frost):
CITRUS, ROSEMARY, STAVIA, FUCHSIA, LEMON VERBENA, Night Blooming CEREUS

Tomato planting time:
AVOCADOS, PINEAPPLE SAGE (upper 40's, 50's) ... should I have kept STAVIA until here? I had a tomato cage with plastic bag sheltering it because I wasn't sure. What about LEMON VERBENA? (ROSEMARY and PINEAPPLE SAGE set out earlier seem to be suffering a bit, maybe better to wait until here?)

Pepper planting time:
MANGOS, PINEAPPLES, ORCHIDS, RUBBER PLANT (upper 50's, 60's)

... does that sound about right? What about LEMON GRASS? AMARYLLIS? (the foliage after flowering that you want to keep growing as long as you can to build up the bulb for next time). Oh, and ALOE VERA?

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FALL PEAS: https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=130523#130523

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https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=170637#170637
jal_ut wrote:OK, carrots, turnips, and onions can be planted 2 weeks before your average last frost date in the spring. Radishes on that date and beets a week after that date. It is well to get these varieties in early for best production. They like cool weather.

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Wow that is a lot of useful information in my opinion esspecially for someone like me who is not 100% sure when to plant what to keep the garden in full production all growing season Thanks applestar.
Jon

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https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=171991#171991
jal_ut wrote:Spinach does best if planted very early. If you have snow in winter, you can plant spinach as soon as the snow leaves. It is a one shot thing. You harvest some leaves then it goes to seed. Plant a little more every two or three weeks as long as the weather is cool.

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Very helpful Applestar. 8)

I will read this stuff a few times. I have never used a thermometer but guess at the soil temperature; I think I may take a bit more of a scientific approach.

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I was looking for avocado pruning tips and came across this:
https://www.ucavo.ucr.edu/Phenology/Definition.html

I had a glimmer of understanding something more. I'll post the link here in case other folks are interested. 8)

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I think they are using it in a very restricted sense.

Here's an article that uses it the way you have been:

https://www.ghorganics.com/Phenology.html
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Hey Applestar, nice link; I planted two avocado trees at the front of my house earlier this year, they have been in the ground for about 6 months now and are doing fine. I have added that ucavo to my bookmarks now. :)

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Rainbow's spring planting timetable:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=174464#174464

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Is this what you had in mind? I am in zone 7, and try to plant my corn, after I hear the first whip'o'will. The whip'o'wills migrate back to my area, last of March to mid April. I have observed that when, they come back we are done with hard freezes, although we usually get a few more light frosts.

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great thread applestar! i have been really trying to focus on this the past few years, its really hard when you try to remember. i find it helps A LOT. to simply take notes of what flowers when, and then also take note when you think WAS a good week to plant what after you have experienced it. this way you can go back and connect the dots. i have found that if i plant my potatoes a few weeks after my comfrey has broke dormancy and is full of leaves i am better off. its a bit later than what other people do, and i harvest a bit later than they do, but the yields are far better because the plants have warmer weather to start in and i can also use the comfrey to aid in potato yield.

i started my notes a bit too late last year, this year i am trying to find a corresponding event in the winter that tells me when its a good time to start seeds in the greenhouse for the summer garden. the alder trees have just started blooming a week ago here, its a bit too early to start now, but if the data comes out right i might be able to use them as a delay indicator like the comfrey.

forsynthia is a great indicator as well, a lot of people have it around here even in diverse micro climates and they still are a pretty good sign spring is close. at least to me.

ozark - i havn't though of using birds as indicators what a great idea, now even more to make things even more complicated, and nature makes it seem so simple.
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ozark - i havn't though of using birds as indicators what a great idea, now even more to make things even more complicated, and nature makes it seem so simple
Birds make great indicators. I'm waiting on the robins to come back now.Back before I had growlights, I started my cold weather seeds inside, when I saw robins. They were here , last year at this time, and we had a early spring.We didn't have snow on the ground and it was a lot warmer, so I guess they are staying where it is not so cold.

Back in 2008, they did'nt get here till the last week of January, and we had two snows in march, and a killer freeze in April after the oaks had bloomed and leafed out.

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I've always heard about robins as harbingers of spring, but it confuses me because robins are year around here. Maybe they are not the same individuals, that some go further south and some from further south come here. But since I can't tell the individuals apart, they don't work for me as harbingers of anything....

This range map

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:American_Robin-rangemap.gif

suggests that robins would only be harbingers of spring in parts of New England and some northern prairie states.

So why does everyone associate robins with spring?
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soil
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yea we cant look at robins here either, as they are year around. ill have to look at my bird book and see whos supposed to arrive come spring.
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Robins migrate south and return in spring here, as do grackles, red-winged blackbirds, cowbirds, and starlings. Aso the House and Carolina Wrens. Starlings and Carolina wrens linger during milder winters.

Winter birds that arrive with the cold and fly north in spring include "snowbirds" -- Junkos and white throated sparrows. Only with a few extremely cold winters, we have Common Red Polls wintering here.

I think I have their arrival and departure on different notes from my garden notes, though for a while, I had indicated them on the same calendar app. I'll try to correlate and see if a pattern emerges. 8)

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Problem is as things get wackier, so do migration patterns. We had robins at Mom's last week. Poor confused things...

I think the plant phenology is likely to be a more steady and reliable indicator in the long run, taking the variability of a mobile species out of the picture. Not saying OR is wrong, just that local plants only get local cues as to what to do...

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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If you think about it, the big trees have experienced the most number of seasons, haven't they? I wonder what THEY think about the changing weather patterns and climate.... :?:

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It is notable that the range of sugar maple has been shrinking on it's southern side for some time now. Certain species will adapt. Certain ones won't.

But the point is a good one AS, trees will be a more stable indicator having seen and survived the outlying variations as well as the more common trends.

HG
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https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=177646#177646
jal_ut wrote:I think six weeks before your avg last frost date is a good time to plant cold hardy plants such as: broccoli, onions, cabbage, carrot, peas, lettuce, turnip, kohlrabi and spinach.

You can actually plant lettuce and spinach as soon now as you have bare ground. It will come up when it is time.

...

For beets and chard, I would plant two weeks before the avg last frost date. They don't seem to be quite as hardy as some of the other mentioned varieties.

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I'm going to have to be sure to check out everybody's posts, but i binged "minnesota phenology" and came across this for any minnesota naturalists.. currently sifting through the posts for relevant gardening information.... https://www.kaxe.org/phenology/

Edited by applestar
Link was changed :arrow: https://www.kaxe.org/programs/phenology.aspx
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Great htread applestar! These are the kinds of things we should all be looking at but somewhere along the way it has gotten out of people's blood for the most part. Any of the old farmers in my area will have similar clues as to when to do things. And every year there is a part of me that thinks "silly old man, I've had my tomatoes in the ground for a month and they're just fine and he's just putting his in" and every year theirs sail past mine seemingly over night. Sometimes I swear they go out in the middle of the night and dig up the small plants and replace with bigger ones from walmart lol. :lol:

I don't know if this is what you want or if you are looking for personal experiences only. But this is from the "old farmer's almanac"

# Plant corn and beans when elm leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear, when oak leaves are the size of a mouse’s ear, when apple blossoms begin to fall, or when dogwoods are in full bloom.

# Plant lettuce, spinach, peas, broccoli and cabbage when the lilacs show their first leaves or when daffodils begin to bloom.

# Plant tomatoes, early corn and peppers when dogwoods are in peak bloom or when daylilies start to bloom.

# Plant cucumbers and squash when lilac flowers fade.

# Plant potatoes when the first dandelion blooms.

# Plant beets and carrots when dandelions are blooming (good succession planting plan, too).

# Plant peas when the forsythia blooms.
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EXACTLY the kind of information, GardenRN. :D
Thanks -- I'll update the first post in the thread as soon as I get the chance. :wink:

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At the new moon, the lunar gravity pulls water up, and causes the seeds to swell and burst. This factor, coupled with the increasing moonlight creates balanced root and leaf growth. This is the best time for planting above ground annual crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit. Examples are lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and grain crops. Cucumbers like this phase also, even though they are an exception to that rule
The other 3 quarters are here. https://www.gardeningbythemoon.com/phases.html

I have never followed these guides, but find it interesting.

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Hmm... I wasn't going to include "by the Moon" signs because, frankly, the logistics of incorporating the moon signs to the phenologicals on top of local last frost, temp fluctuations, and weather patterns -- as well as my own energy levels/readiness to WORK, and readiness of the plants to be planted, etc. -- was way too complicated for me to contemplate making happen last spring. :roll:

But I admit to the possibility of Tidal Forces and gravitational forces affecting plant growth (afterall, gravitational forces affect our own bone growth and density 8) -- not to mention flab and sag formation :>), and I'll certainly consider adding it to the list if more experienced folks have had positive results :?:

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this might be of interest to some of you, its related to the topic of the thread.

https://agroinnovations.com/index.php/en_us/multimedia/blogs/podcast/2011/02/episode-119-the-national-phenology-network/
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That sure is related; interesting they are using it for animal ag as well...

Thanks, Soil!

HG
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ok I read another one today. I know that for certain reasons you were talking about leaving out animal signs. But I think this one is relevant because a mating call won't be relative to the region, it HAS TO be relative to the season. The great horned owl. SPring is just a few weeks off when you hear them hooting back and forth.
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We'll see how these work for me this year. So far I have followed these three:

* Plant peas when the forsythia blooms.


Plant potatoes when the first dandelion blooms.


Plant lettuce, spinach, peas, broccoli and cabbage when the lilacs show their first leaves or when daffodils begin to bloom.

Hopefully it all works out. I'm keeping notes to see if I should follow next year!
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Sounds good! looking forward to your report. We'll compare notes. :wink:

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the poison oak are starting to have swollen buds here, should be open in a few days. its also a great time to start a lot of seeds(note to self). also some of the daffodils have opened and bloomed in the last few days.
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Phenolgy project linking plant growth/development to insects in Ohio:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=33603&highlight=

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soil
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anyone noticing any signs for fall planting?

around here the poison oak started to go dormant a few weeks ago, giving its summer colors. so i started some fall crops.

the amaranth is also starting to bloom. not sure what that means though.
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soil
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its almost that time of year again, im going to start a dedicated yearly phenological calender this year, ive taken notes before but i want it all in one place from now on. im going to include daily temperatures and humidity as well, along with cloud cover and rain possibly.
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Sounds like a great project, Soil. That's going to be a really useful reference guide. 8)

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just glanced up and realized I may have not reported. But everything I followed last year worked out great. The only exception would be that it was a little cooler than when I usually plant the corn. The corn did fine, but because it was cooler, it took longer to sprout, which gave the squirrels more time to invade. I'd have to say this year I will either have to find a way to deter the squirrels, or go back to planting a bit later.
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soil
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i started lettuce, broccoli, leek, onion and other greens when i saw some of the manzanitas flowering. turned out to be perfect timing.

take note whats going on around you, for some winter may be just starting to loose the battle. its still going to be cold for months here but perfect for later winter crops.
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