Whether you’re a veteran gardener, or a first-timer, one of the most important and helpful tools is a planting table — a chart to tell you when it’s ideal, in your geographic zone, to put seeds in soil.
It should go without saying, though folks often forget, that April in New York is different from April in Georgia, or April in Maine. The farther north you go, the later you will still find frozen ground and late frosts. A map of the planting zones gives you essential guidance about average temperatures and the pace of warmer, garden-friendly weather, where you live.
We recommend finding a planting table you like the looks of, and printing it out. Studying the different dates, and the full list of produce, in a relaxed pace can lead to all kinds of inspiration. You might never have thought to grow muskmelons, but seeing it on the chart might awaken the sleeping muskmelon lover within!
When it comes to planting tables, we especially like these two: TheGardenHelper.com is a visually appealing, easily navigated site, with a downloadable table, and even a garden layout planner; also, Cornell’s Cooperative extension, based in Westchester, has a planting calendar just for locals. It isn’t much to look at, but it gives guidance on when to plant, along with specification about when it’s best to sow seeds directly in soil, and when to favor the transplant of plantings.
Oh, and by the way: we’re in Zone 6! Happy planting!
(Check out the fancy Zone map below.)