Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Plant an Annuals Garden


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. 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.

You now know what you need to do at any time of the year, from selecting annuals, planting annuals, and maintaining annuals in order to enjoy your annual flower garden.

©Publications International, Ltd.