Part I: Sowing Calendar

Growing calendars can be confounding. Many things must be started indoors and when to start them is determined by your last frost date and the details of the specific variety listed on the seed pack. Some things do not transplant well. Bio Sponges, when handled with care radically change outcomes for these. Others grow so quickly it’s sometimes a waste to start them indoors unless you decide to keep successive plantings going. Quick turn over starts like lettuce, spinach, salad greens, bunching onions, and so forth can be accomplished with smaller bio sponges, which are more economical.


For this calendar I am picking May 15 as a last frost date and October 15 as a first frost date in the fall. Please check your local climate dates and make adjustments to this calendar. Further adjustments should be made, as you become more familiar with the growth habits of your particular favorites. Don’t be alarmed if some of your starts become robust before you can plant them outside. Careful pruning will keep that growth in check.


I will note when a particular plant seed can be planted directly into your container or garden outside. I will also note when successive plantings can be made so that you will have a steady supply. Seed packs come with specific instructions as well. Read them carefully and fine-tune your calendar to your choices.


I recommend a big desk calendar where the squares are large and blank. Transfer this information in PENCIL to that calendar and adjust the dates according to the seed package instructions and your local climate zone. This calendar becomes the next best thing to a journal but keep a journal as well. Record how varieties perform and things like what method succeeded or what method or variety might have failed. A journal is a priceless resource.


I will provide two calendars. One is designed for indoor starts and the other for planting directly outside. Consider a collective-buy of seeds with a group of friends. Most packs contain far more than can be used in one season.


Note that perennial and biennial varieties often perform better if they have been stratified. This simply means freezing them for a month. You can sow bio sponges with these seeds one month earlier than the calendar reflects, put them in the freezer for a month and place them under the lights on the calendar date listed.




FEBRUARY 1:Winter Savory, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, and Strawberry

FEBRUARY 15: Chive, Hyssop, Parsley, Caraway, Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and Leek


* February is the best month to start perennials and biennials. With a little experience you will learn that some are slow growers and can be started in January, quicker ones as late as March 15. Recalculate if you want to stratify.


MARCH 1: Cauliflower, Carrot (as a companion herb), and Chard

MARCH 15: Marigold, Anise Hyssop, Basil, Tomato, Pepper, Eggplant, Marjoram, Bunching Onion, Onion seed, Potato seed, and Shallot


*Note that onions and potatoes can be purchased already started as onion sets and seed potatoes for later planting directly outside.


APRIL 1: Chervil, Summer Savory, Chamomile, Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Greens, Bunching Onion, and Mustard

APRIL 15: Nasturtium, Morning Glory, Dill, Lettuce, Spinach, Greens, Bunching Onion, and Mustard


*Note the repeats. I am introducing you to successive planting. Lettuce, mustard, spinach, greens and bunching onions should be started in small amounts, only what you think you might eat in a two-week period. Mustard Mizuna is the only green that tolerates some heat. They have developed more heat-tolerant varieties of lettuce and spinach so read the catalogs carefully. You can begin growing a cool weather variety and switch over to a more heat tolerant variety to extend the season. Shade cloth does wonders to cool things down in the summer. Floating row cover keeps things warm in early spring and late fall, extending your season on both ends.


MAY 1: Squash, Cucumber, Lettuce, Spinach, Greens, Bunching Onions, Mustard

MAY 15: Melon, Lettuce, Spinach, Greens, Bunching Onions, and Mustard


JUNE 1: Lettuce, Spinach, Greens, Mustard (might bolt even with shade cloth)


JULY: 1: Broccoli, Cabbage, Bunching Onions, Mustard, Leek, Brussels sprouts

JULY 15: Cauliflower, Lettuce, Spinach, Greens, Chard, and Mustard


AUGUST 1: Lettuce, Spinach, Greens, Bunching Onions, Mustard, and Kale

AUGUST 15: Lettuce, Spinach, Greens, Bunching Onions, and Mustard


SEPTEMBER 1: Lettuce, Spinach, Greens, and Mustard


*Note that July and August starts of the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, mustard, Brussels sprouts) and salad greens such as lettuce and spinach will need shade cloth once they bedded out until the weather gets cool.

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