Please find below a list of monthly duties that the everyday gardener in Zone 5 to Zone 6 can perform. A lot of the timing of the outdoor tasks depends on the reliability of Mother Nature to cooperate with normal weather environments. However, nature is not always a well-timed, well-oiled factory and can cause some vital outdoor tasks to be delayed.

 

January
Inspect houseplants for white flies, spider mites and aphids.

Propagate indoor plants by stem cuttings.

Order garden catalogues.

Clean and disinfect pots and containers used when starting seeds.

Plan new landscape designs and this year’s garden.

Order flower and vegetable seeds and decide which seeds should be started inside.

Try forcing Amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus.

 

February
Repot pot bound foliage houseplants

Start feeding houseplants with liquid plant food.

Start slow seeds such as Geranium and Begonia seeds.

Use this month to repair garden furniture and effects.

Check forced bulbs and bring out of cold storage if tips have sprouted 2 inches or more.

Clean and sharpen garden tools and oil wooden handles with linseed oil.

Start an exercise program so you will be ready for the upcoming gardening season.

This is a good time to sit down with a good garden book and sharpen your gardening skills.

Don't forget to feed the birds!


March
Eliminate overwintering insects and diseases on fruit trees and deciduous ornamentals with dormant spray.

Check the yard for winter damage i.e. heaved plants and broken branches.

Start tomatoes, lettuce and other fast growers indoors later this month.

Prune summer flowering shrubs and vines.

Order summer flowering bulbs

Loosen up packed winter mulch and press back heaved perennials.

Make plant markers for the upcoming season.

Plant annual flower seeds indoors.

Adjust guy wires on trees. Check for girdling which will stunt growth

 

April
Do not work the soil until it is dry enough to crumble when you squeeze a handful and do not walk on your wet garden as compaction will occur.

Edge Garden Beds.

Rake out perennial and vegetable beds removing dead leaves and stems which may harbour insect eggs and disease.

Rake out dead grass from your lawn.

Give your lawn its first and most important fertilizer of the year.

Repair lawn damage with topsoil and seed.

Mulch garden beds 2-3 inches deep with organic mulch.

Remove dead, diseased and damaged wood as soon as it is observed.

Prepare garden beds for planting. Dig in compost and other organic material.

Remove rose protection; prune and apply dormant spray before the buds break.

Turn the compost pile at the beginning of the month and bury its contents in the garden bed at the end of the month.

Start tomato, melon, cucumber and squash seeds indoors.

Start cool weather vegetables outside such as peas, spinach, lettuce, onions, beets and garlic.

As spring bulbs come up use golf tees to mark their location. In the fall you will be able to tell which areas need additional bulbs.

Lawn mowers and other power equipment should receive spring maintenance before the growing season begins.


May
Remove faded flower heads of tulips and daffodils. Let stems die down before removal.

Prune Shrubs and Trees after flowering

Transfer bedding annuals to outdoor cold frame

Harden off Seedlings before planting

Start regular hoeing and hand weeding preparation of garden beds

Continue to plant cold crop favourites like lettuce, spinach, garlic, onions, etc.

Plant cold sensitive vegetables after last frost and protect them if necessary. Harden off before transplanting.

Water lawn deeply but do not cut too short to prevent weed seeds from taking hold.

Mulch planting beds

Start pruning and deadheading roses and begin a fertilizer program for these bushes.

Fertilize bulbs as they finish blooming and fertilize annuals and container plants.

Edge Garden Beds

Keep an eye on your roses for black spot and aphids and have them sprayed accordingly.

This is a good month to repair the lawn so aerating and seeding might be helpful.

Set houseplants outside when frost danger is gone and repot those that require it.

Start planting glads in 2 week increments until July to insure continual flowering.

Consider netting or row covers to protect your early fruit bush crop from the birds.

Pond fish can now be fed flakes on a regular basis as the weather heats up.

Continue to feed the birds as they eat damaging insects in your yard.

Plan your summer garden and new plantings


June
Fertilize flowers and vegetables. Stake or cage tomato plants, dahlias, glads, etc.

Deadhead faded blooms

Prune Evergreens and hedges

Weed and water garden beds regularly

Treat annual flowers with fertilizer

Remove faded rose blooms

Fertilize roses after peak blooms

Make homes in the garden for insect eating toads

Mulch garden beds to 2-3 inches

Finish planting summer annuals

Fertilise vegetables (i.e.-20-20-20 water soluble)

Divide spring Iris, discarding diseased or non-producing old bulbs

Stake tall growing perennials

Leave foliage on spring bulbs until it dies back naturally

Plant gladiolus corms

Tap your tomato plants to encourage pollination

Water tomato plants every day and start feeding weekly once fruits set

Protect your fruits from birds with netting or floating row covers

Fertilize the lawn this month

Raise the cutting length of the lawnmower to conserve moisture

Keep container plants watered during dry periods.


July
Fertilize annuals and vegetables

Weed! Weed! Weed! - shallow hoe gardens regularly

Continue to cut lawn high - cut grass no shorter than 3 inches

Snip off spent perennial blossoms to extend the bloom season

Prune shade trees

Remove old raspberry canes and trim back strawberry plants after fruiting

Turn compost

Edge garden beds

Fertilize roses

Check for slugs in the flower and vegetable garden

Deadhead annuals and perennials

Sow lettuce, radishes, and arugula for the fall crop

Container plants should be checked as the hot weather may necessitate daily or even more frequent watering.

Water all plants in the morning if possible to prevent the spread of fungal diseases


August
Prune climbing roses

Cut out old raspberry canes

Change bird bath water and eliminate standing water to combat mosquitos

Remember to drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen when working outdoors

Check container gardens daily for dryness and fertilize regularly

Use a water bottle with a strong stream to spray aphids and other pests off plants rather than lugging the hose around the yard.

Mulch garden beds 2-3 inches deep with an organic mulch

Prune tightly shaped hedges, if needed, after the second flush of growth

Seed winter vegetables like lettuce, spinach and kale

Clean up dropped fruit to discourage pests

Remove garden debris to reduce next year’s Cutworm population

Continue to cut grass high

Keep weeds pulled before they flower


September
Divide and transplant perennials

Last fertilizing of lawns for the year

prepare and seed new lawns

Renovate perennial borders

Cover tender plants when frosts are forecast

Start saving seed for next year

Repot housebound plants

Stop watering tuberous begonias

Plant spring flowering perennials now

Fertilize roses one last time

Fertilize fruit trees after harvest

Adjust mower level lower

Soak soil around evergreens and transplants

Stop fertilizing trees and shrubs to permit this year’s growth to harden off before winter

Prune plum trees right after harvest

Mark perennials or create a map showing their location so you will know where they are when they die back at the end of the season.

Plant evergreen now to get them a good start before winter. Use transplant fertilizer.



October
Pull out summer annuals killed by frost.

Mound rose crowns with about 6 inches of fresh soil before the ground freezes.

Continue to water trees and perennials.

Plant garlic for a spring harvest.

Protect Growing Veggies from frost.

Pot up herbs for indoor growth.

Repot root bound houseplants

Plant amaryllis for winter bloom.

Drench plants being brought inside after a season outdoors with a soap solution to eliminate bugs.

Save excess seed for next year.

Store clay containers to prevent freezing and cracking.

Continue to remove weeds to prevent seeds, insects and diseases from overwintering.

Keep mowing grass as long as it grows

Remove grass clippings from last few cuts to prevent insects and disease from overwintering.

Store lawnmower if this month is your last cut.

Keep lawn free of leaves and debris.

Insure gutters and downspouts are not plugged that may result in ice damage.

Prune long growth on roses to prevent canes from snapping in winter.

Clear beds after a heavy frost.

Clean and store summer flowering bulbs (dahlias, gladiolus, and cannas).

Clean and store garden tools and machinery.

Dig and divide clumps of rhubarb.

Stop feeding your pond fish when the water temperature falls below 50 degrees.


November
Soak soil around evergreens if ground is dry

Hill up roses

Mulch tender plants

Plant bulbs for winter forcing indoors

Clean garden storage area and tools

Mulch asparagus bed for winter

Apply repellents and wraps to guard against rabbit damage

Drain water lilies and pumps

Tulip bulbs may still be planted

Remove any visible weeds so they do not meet you in the Spring.

Dig up tender bulbs and store in a cool dark area after the first frost.

Apply fall fertilizer to lawn if not already done

Remember to continue feeding the birds


December.

Trim junipers, pines and firs moderately and use the trimmed branches to decorate for the holidays.

Order Seed catalogues

Purchase Amaryllis and Paperwhite bulbs for indoor winter blooms

Place protective boards over shrubs near buildings to deflect snow sliding from the roof.

Reduce watering of indoor plants

Consider purchasing a live Christmas tree for your home.

Enjoy the holidays and plan for your garden for the upcoming season