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Garden Care: Annuals


Maintaining Annuals Month by Month

The following chart lists the various gardening tasks to be done each year. When they should be done depends on the climate in your area.

Monkey flower gives a great splash of color to any garden.
With regular monthly maintenance, monkey flower
will provide a great splash of color to any garden.

This month-by-month chart indicates when each task should be performed based on the different average annual minimum temperatures in North America. Because conditions can differ, and dates of first and last freezes of the season vary each year, these are only approximate guides, but they will provide you with a general outline for your garden year.

Tasks to Be Done by Average Annual Minimum Temperature
-50°F to
-30°F
-30°F to -10°F
-10°F to
10°F
10°F to
40°F
1. Plan garden for coming season*
NOV/DEC/
JAN
DEC/JAN JAN JAN/AUG
2. Order seeds*
FEB FEB JAN JAN/AUG
3. Buy seed starting supplies*
FEB FEB JAN JAN
4. Take cuttings*
MAR MAR FEB JAN
5. Start slower-growing seeds indoors*
APR MAR MAR
6. Prick off seedlings
APR APR MAR
7. Start faster-growing seeds indoors*
MAY APR APR
8. Prick off later seedlings*
MAY APR APR
9. Lay out new beds
APR APR APR FEB
10. Take soil samples if not done in the fall
APR/MAY MAR/APR MAR JAN
11. Adjust pH if not done during the winter
MAY APR APR FEB
12. Add conditioners to soil
MAY APR APR FEB
13. Add fertilizers to soil as recommended by testing lab
MAY APR APR FEB
14. Till soil
MAY APR APR FEB/SEPT
15. Purchase and plant nontender bedding plants
MAY APR/MAY APR FEB
16. Harden off home-grown bedding plants*
MAY MAY APR
17. Lay mulch on beds for bedding plants. (See step 24 for direct seed sowing.)
MAY MAY APR MAR/SEPT
18. Sow seeds directly in outdoor beds. Feed as needed until seeds sprout. (Do not allow them to become dry.)*
JUNE MAY APR MAR/SEPT/OCT
19. Purchase tender bedding plants
JUNE MAY APR MAR
20. Pinch and plant tender bedding plants
JUNE MAY APR MAR
21. Plant out tender bulbs
JUNE JUNE MAY APR
22. Sprinkle pre-emergent weed killer on soil between bedding plants. (Caution: Do not use with direct-sown seeds or young plants.)
JUNE JUNE MAY APR
23. Thin seedlings from direct-sown seeds*
JUNE JUNE MAY APR/OCT
24. Lay mulch when seedlings reach 4 to 6 inches.
JUNE JUNE MAY APR/OCT
25. Put in plant supports
JUNE JUNE MAY APR/OCT
26. Deep water as needed
JULY JULY/AUG JUNE/JULY/AUG MAY/JUNE/JULY/
OCT/NOV/DEC
27. Fertilize with general plant food (sidedress or water on)
JULY JULY/AUG JUNE/JULY/AUG MAY/JUNE/JULY/
OCT/NOV/DEC
28. Weed as needed
JULY JULY/AUG JUNE/JULY/AUG MAY/JUNE/JULY/
OCT/NOV/DEC
29. Remove dead flowers, as needed
JULY JULY/AUG JUNE/JULY/AUG MAY/JUNE/JULY/
OCT/NOV/DEC
30. Control pests and diseases, as needed
JULY JULY/AUG JUNE/JULY/AUG MAY/JUNE/JULY/
OCT/NOV/DEC
31. Plant biennial seeds for next year*
JULY AUG AUG JULY
32. Take cuttings
JULY AUG AUG JULY
33. Pick flowers for drying
AUG SEPT SEPT JULY
34. Harvest mature seeds
AUG SEPT SEPT JULY
35. Pot plants to bring indoors for the winter
AUG SEPT SEPT
36. Protect beds from early frosts
AUG SEPT SEPT
37. Dig and store tender bulbs
SEPT SEPT OCT JAN
38. Pull out dead plants; destroy or compost
SEPT OCT OCT
39. Make notes for next year's garden
SEPT OCT OCT
40. Apply mulch to depleted and bare spots for winter
SEPT OCT NOV
41. Take soil samples
SEPT OCT NOV
42. Clean and sharpen tools; store for winter
OCT NOV DEC DEC
43. Adjust pH according to soil test recommendations
OCT NOV DEC
*Applies only to those plants that are started from seed. Does not apply to purchased bedding plants.

Annual flowers will not survive winter, but there are ways that they may still be prepared for next year's garden. Read more about how to get the most of your annuals in the next section.

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