You need a planting calendar to help you understand what and when to plant if you live or own a farm in a Zone 4 region.
Since Zone 4 has cooler summers, the herbs, flowers, fruits, and vegetables you plant should be able to grow and survive in a shorter growing season or over cold winters.
And this is where a planting calendar comes into play.
A planting calendar provides the necessary information about when to plant, which crops to plant, and what else you can do in your garden.
So here is our Zone 4 calendar that can help you plant at the right time, thus improving your chances of maximizing your yield.
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It is still in the midst of winter in January, so you can’t do any outdoor planting. But this is the perfect time to plan your garden.
You can, though, browse the seed catalogs and see what you can plant once the weather warms.
You can also start seeds indoors to give plants that require a long growing season a head start.
Or you can plant hardy vegetables like chard, spinach, or kale, as these vegetables grow even during winter.
During February, the winter begins to wane.
So you can plant seedlings for cauliflowers, cabbage, and broccoli indoors for transplanting outdoors in April.
But outdoors—in February—spinach and radishes can be perfect for planting during these cold months.
You can also start preparing garden beds by clearing out debris and weeds and adding compost to improve soil fertility when they are not covered in snow.
March ushers in spring and the planting season.
And if you had prepared seedlings indoors earlier, March is the time to start working the soil.
However, if you haven’t already, you can use the information on the seed packets to figure out when to plant and how to care for your plants.
Seed packets contain valuable information such as the recommended planting depth, spacing, and soil temperature.
For example, the table below shows a few vegetables, plants, and fruits and the recommended planting depth and spacing which is information you may find on the seed packets.
|Recommended Planting Depth||Spacing|
|Carrots||1/4 inch||2–3 inches|
|Broccoli||1/2–1 inch||18–24 inches|
|Lavender||1/4 inch||12–18 inches|
|Sunflowers||1–2 inches||24–36 inches|
|Strawberries||1/4–1/2 inch||12–18 inches|
Remember, you should always follow the guidelines on the seed packets to determine when you want to plant.
Because planting too early or late could pose different outcomes, such as:
- Planting too early in the spring risks frost damage. However, planting early could also give your plants a head start allowing you to harvest earlier and possibly get a larger yield.
- Planting too late in the summer brings in the risk of heat stress and reduced growth.
- Planting too late in the season could cause delayed harvest or none at all.
Also, you can divide overgrown perennials in March to encourage new growth.
April brings in warmer temperatures and longer days, perfect for planting vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.
But before you start planting, check the last frost date, which should be between the last week of May and the first week of June.
This will ensure you plant your seeds or seedlings at the right time to give them a better chance of survival and growth.
Still, you can plant hardy seeds and seedlings like these:
- Vegetables: lettuce, spinach, and kale
- Flowers: poppies
- Herbs: oregano and sage
- Fruits: apples or strawberries
Additionally, April is an excellent month to establish new plantings for raspberries, grapes, or strawberries.
Also, if you didn’t cut down last year’s fruiting canes on berries and brambles, you can do it now.
May is the time to check whether your growing plants have mulch around them to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
Also, check the plants regularly for pests and diseases.
Still, you can grow these plants indoors:
- Winter squash
- Tomato seedlings
Outdoors, you can sow seeds for these plants directly in the garden:
- Late cabbage
But that’s not all.
To take advantage of the warm weather, plant flowers like zinnias or marigolds while adding fertilizer and mulch around the growing flowers.
Furthermore, you could plant herbs like basil and thyme.
Lastly, harvest early crops like lettuces and radishes as they mature while watering the other plants as needed.
This is when the garden starts to come to life as the flowers, vegetables, herbs, and plants begin to sprout and stretch toward the warm sunshine.
The flowers, with their vibrant colors and delicate petals, are a sight to behold, making your garden look like a cover of a gardening magazine.
The herbs fill the air with sweet scents while the vegetables prepare for harvest.
You can plant petunias and impatiens or small fruit plants like raspberries or blueberries.
You can harvest early crops and plant second crops with seasoned vegetables like lettuce and spinach.
You can harvest tomatoes, peppers, squash, and cucumbers in July.
You can plant broccoli and brussels sprouts in the ground for a delicious harvest later in the year.
Here are more plants you can try:
- Bush bean varieties, as they have a shorter maturity date
- Seeds for beets, carrots, turnips, kale, and lettuce
- Annual flowers to add color to your garden in a few weeks
- Fall-bearing fruits like strawberries and blackberries
- Herbs like chives and parsley
August is the last month of the summer before autumn comes beckoning.
The tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are juiciest and tastiest in August, so grab a basket and continue harvesting as these plants reach their peak.
If your green thumb is yearning for more action, you can plant some beets, broccoli, carrots, kale, lettuce, and spinach.
Although the warm season is coming to an end, you can still do some gardening.
It’s time to harvest last-season vegetables like pumpkin, winter squash, or herbs such as thyme, basil, or oregano.
Harvest your herbs before the first frost (early October). Then dry and freeze them for winter use.
Figure out what worked, what didn’t, and where you can improve.
Then make a plan on what to plant next. You can even start preparing for next year’s garden by sowing cool-season plants like lettuce or spinach.
Also, remember to clean up your garden beds. Removing dead plants and debris can help prevent disease and pests from taking hold.
Despite the fact that winter is approaching, you can still plant the following:
- Cool-season lettuce
You should also be gathering the last harvest as you prepare your garden for winter.
Additionally, clean your garden tools, oil your pruners, and sharpen your shovels.
While the garden is closing for business, you should plant spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and crocuses.
Also, continue cleaning up the garden as you compost everything you can, waiting for next year’s planting season.
Check the first frost dates to prepare for winter gardening activities.
You can plant beets and carrots as they are pretty hardy vegetables that can survive the winter. Just make sure you protect them from the extreme cold.
Also, if you haven’t already, apply a layer of mulch to all your planting beds. This will protect your soil from erosion and conserve moisture.
However, you can still do some indoor planting.
Try these plants:
- Herbs: basil, parsley, and thyme
- Microgreens from seeds like radish, beet, or mustard that you can grow in small containers indoors.
- Dwarf citrus trees can produce fruit indoors and add a pleasant scent to your home.
While in Zone 4, no matter the month you decide to let your green thumb have some fun, you will find a plant, vegetable, herb, or flower you can start growing indoors or plant outside.
Following these planting guidelines, you can prepare your garden for planting at the appropriate time to maximize your harvest.
But always consider your zone, the plant’s sunlight and watering requirements, and the appropriate planting time for your area.
Keep your tools clean, oiled, and sharpened. Then check the plants regularly for pests or diseases, and add mulch to your garden beds. These practices go a long way in maintaining a healthy garden.