Gardener's Almanac Monthly Gardening Checklist

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January Tips & Checklist

  • Peruse garden/seed catalogues to help determine new and exciting vegetable varieties to try in the garden.
  • Plan out and design the vegetable garden--try to implement crop rotation of vegetable families to reduce disease buildup.
  • Consider growing herbs and/or microgreens indoors to add fresh greens to your diet.
  • Use deicing compounds sparingly to avoid salt damage to landscape plants.
  • If storing bulbs, check the bulb's condition to ensure they are firm, removing any soft or rotten bulbs.
  • Perform routine maintenance on lawn mowers and other small engine garden equipment.
  • Sign up to become a member of the USU sponsored Botanical Gardens and receive discounts on classes and workshops along with other special benefits.

February Tips & Checklist

  • Consider adding a smaller structure such as a low tunnel or a larger high tunnel to extend your growing season.
  • Consider growing herbs and/or microgreens indoors to add fresh greens to your diet.
  • Try your hand at starting vegetables or annual seeds indoors from seed to get a jump start on the growing season.
  • If storing bulbs, check the bulb's condition to ensure they are firm, removing any soft or rotten bulbs.
  • Prune grapes and fruit trees in late February – early March.
  • Fertilize fruit (pg. 24) trees at least 6 weeks before they bloom.

Pests and Problems:

  • Monitor for deer and rodent damage in the landscape
  • Avoid fungus gnat infestations in house plants by allowing the soil to dry out in between watering

March Tips & Checklist

  • Pests and Problems:Consider taking soil samples to determine fertilizer needs.
  • Plant seeds of cool season vegetables (peas, lettuce, radishes...) as soon as garden soil is workable.
  • Consider planting peas in the garden every 2-3 weeks (until early May) to extend the harvest.
  • If it didn't happen in the fall, add organic matter to the vegetable garden to help build and amend the soil.
  • Avoid compacted soil by avoiding tilling wet or saturated garden soil.
  • Consider backyard composting or vermiculture (composting with worms).
  • If storing bulbs, check the bulb's condition to ensure they are firm, removing any soft or rotten bulbs.
  • If locally available, plant bare root trees and shrubs, keeping the exposed roots moist until planted.
  • Remove protective trunk wrap and burlap from trees in the spring after snow has melted.
  • Fertilize spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodil, fritillaria and crocus.
  • Plant cold hardy pansies and primrose.
  • Subscribe to the Utah Pests IPM Advisories for timely tips on controlling pests in your yard and garden.
  • Prune berries and fruit trees such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums and apricots.
  • Attend a USU Extension sponsored pruning demonstration near you.
  • Apply Horticulture oils at bud break (delayed dormant) in fruit trees to control overwintering insect pests.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides in late March – mid April to control annual weeds in your lawn (crabgrass, spurge…).
  • Sharpen mower blades and prepare for the season. Set mower height to mow 2 1/2 to 3 inches tall, mow at this height entire summer.
  • Consider including a native fruiting species in the landscape, including chokecherry, elderberry, serviceberry or currant.

Pests and Problems:

  • Download ‘Utah Home Orchard Pest Management Guide’.
  • Damping off is a fungal disease that affects new seedlings.
  • Aspen leaf spot may be prevalent during cool, wet springs. Control measures should occur at bud break.
  • Anthracnose may be prevalent during cool, wet springs. Control measures should occur at bud break.
  • Control rust mites in apple and pear trees after leaves have emerged and expanded by 1/2 inch.
  • For pears, apply dormant oil when leaf buds swell. This smothers eggs of the Pear psylla that are laid on buds by overwintering adults.

April Tips & Checklist

  • Plant seeds of cool season vegetables (peas, lettuce, spinach and radishes...) as soon as garden soil is workable.
  • Check out over 55 different vegetable / herb fact sheets produced by USU Extension.
  • Consider planting peas in the garden every 2-3 weeks (until early May) to extend the harvest.
  • How to plant and harvest asparagus.
  • How to plant and harvest rhubarb.
  • Mechanically control young garden weeds by hoeing or hand pulling.
  • Protect fruit blossoms and tender garden plants from late critical freezing temperatures.
  • If storing bulbs, check the bulb's condition to ensure they are firm, removing any soft or rotten bulbs.
  • If locally available, plant bare root trees and shrubs, keeping the exposed roots moist until planted.
  • Wait to prune roses until after buds begin to swell to avoid late frosts damaging new growth.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs (those that bloom before June) after they have bloomed to encourage new flower buds for next season.
  • Divide crowded, fall-blooming perennials.
  • Divide cool season ornamental grasses when new growth begins to emerge.
  • Apply chelated iron (FeEDDHA) to plants with prior problems with Iron Chlorosis.
  • Use organic (wood chips or bark) mulches to retain soil moisture around shrubs and trees.
  • Plant a tree to Celebrate National Arbor Day. The USU Tree Browser offers an interactive list of tree species adapted to the Intermountain West.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides in late March – mid April to control annual weeds in your lawn (crabgrass, spurge…).
  • Information on planting a lawn.
  • In compacted sites, aerate with hollow core aerator when turfgrass is actively growing (April – June).
  • Check sprinkler systems for leaks, clean filters, fix and align heads.

Pests and Problems:

May Tips & Checklist

Pests and Problems:

  • Monitor newly planted vegetables for Cutworm and flea beetle damage.
  • Monitor for Cankerworm damage on scrub oak and Box elder trees along the foothills.
  • Monitor for aphids on lush new spring growth on a variety of plants. Treat for aphids by using “softer” solutions such as spraying them with a hard stream of water or by using an insecticidal soap.
  • Monitor for slugs and snails. These pests thrive in moist, cool areas of the garden and landscape feeding on a variety of plant hosts.
  • Protect Ash trees from the Lilac / ash borer around the first of May.
  • Control Codling moth in apples and pears to reduce wormy fruit. For specific timing see our Utah Pests Advisories.
  • Treat for powdery mildew on apples beginning when leaves are emerging (at 1/2 inch green) until June.
  • Watch for insect pests in raspberries from mid-May thru early June.
  • Watch for Cutworm damage in turfgrass and new vegetable starts.
  • Monitor for damaging turfgrass insects. In areas previously damaged, consider a preventative (systemic) insecticide.

June Tips & Checklist

  • Harvesting of asparagus spears should stop in early June to allow the fronds to form for the rest of the growing season.
  • Prune tomatoes to open the canopy of the plant.
  • Consider drip irrigation in the garden to conserve water.
  • Consider planting sweet corn in the garden every other week (until early July) to extend the harvest.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs (those that bloom before June) after they have bloomed to encourage new flower buds for next season.
  • Deadhead (cut off) spent blossoms of perennial and annual flowers.
  • Thin the fruit of apples, peaches, apricots to approximately 1 fruit every 5-6 inches.
  • Apply a second application of pre-emergent herbicides in late May - early June to control annual weeds in the lawn (crabgrass, spurge…).
  • Turfgrass only needs 1-1 ½ inches of irrigation per week. See irrigation needs in your area.

Pests and Problems:

July Tips & Checklist

  • Start enjoying the tomato harvest.
  • Side dress (fertilize) potatoes in the garden with nitrogen in early July.
  • Harvest summer squash and zucchini when they are still small and tender.
  • Deep water established trees and shrubs about once per month during the heat of summer.
  • Deadhead (cut off) spent blossoms of perennial and annual flowers.
  • Divide crowded iris or daylilies once they have finished blooming.
  • Visit alpine areas for wildflower displays.
  • Remove water sprouts (vertical shoots in the canopy) of fruit trees to discourage regrowth and reduce shading.
  • Renovate perennial strawberry beds by tearing out old crowns (mother plants) and applying fertilizer to stimulate new runners.
  • Turfgrass only needs 1 ½-2 inches of irrigation per week. See irrigation needs in your area.

Pests and Problems:

  • Check under leaves of pumpkins, melons, and squash plants for squash bugs.
  • Watch for Mosaic virus in vine crops (such as cucumbers and watermelons), removing infected plants to reduce their spreading.
  • Watch for holes in the leaves of petunias, necotiana, geraniums and other annual flowers from Tobacco budworm feeding.
  • Protect black locust trees (not honey locust) with a registered chemical to prevent Locust borer damage.
  • Control Codling moth in apples and pears to reduce wormy fruit. For specific timing see our Utah Pests Advisories.
  • Control for Walnut husk fly in Walnuts, peaches and apricots historically is done on August 1st and 15th.
  • Learn how to identify a Hobo spider.
  • Controlling European Paper wasp with traps is helpful this time of year.
  • Monitor for damaging turfgrass insects.

August Tips & Checklist

  • Consider planting cover crops to provide "green manure" to the garden.
  • Collect and store seeds from your garden.
  • Learn about how and when to harvest watermelon and cantaloupe.
  • Harvest potatoes as soon as tubers begin forming.
  • Harvest garlic and onions once the tops have dried down. Allow them to cure (dry) for 2-3 weeks before storing.
  • Store potatoes, garlic and onions in a cool/dry location (32-40°F) away from apples.
  • Plant trees and shrubs as the weather becomes cooler.
  • Go hiking in the hills to enjoy autumn colors.
  • Divide crowded, spring-blooming perennials.
  • Consider composting fall leaves.
  • Check pears for ripeness once the fruit twists off the tree easily and seeds are dark colored, and allow them to finish ripening off the tree.
  • Apply a slow-release lawn fertilizer early in September to provide long-lasting results throughout the fall months.
  • Remember that as temperatures cool, turfgrass requires minimal irrigation each week. See irrigation needs in your area.
  • Plant new lawns or repair insect/diseased areas with grass seed, allowing 4-6 weeks for establishment before heavy frosts.
  • Aerate compacted sites with a hollow core aerator when turfgrass is actively growing (September - October).

Pests and Problems:

September Tips & Checklist

  • Deadhead (cut off) spent blossoms of perennial and annual flowers.
  • Deep water established trees and shrubs about once per month during the heat of summer.
  • Turfgrass only needs 1 ½-2 inches of irrigation per week. See irrigation needs in your area.

Pests and Problems:

  • If tomatoes are not producing, one common reason could be due to hot weather (95°F and above) which causes flower abortion.
  • Blossom end rot (black sunken areas on the end of tomatoes) is common and is caused by uneven watering.
  • Check under leaves of pumpkins, melons, and squash plants for squash bugs.
  • Treat for Corn ear worm when the corn’s silk is approximately ½ long.
  • Spider mites prefer dry, hot weather and affect many plants. Treat for Spider mites by using “softer” solutions such as spraying them with a hard stream of water or by using an insecticidal soap.
  • Spider mites can be identified by shaking leaves over a white piece of paper. If the small specs move…mites.
  • Control Codling moth in apples and pears to reduce wormy fruit. For specific timing see our Utah Pests Advisories.
  • Historically, control of the Greater Peach Tree borer in peaches, nectarines and apricots occurs the first of July. However, for specific timing see our Utah Pests Advisories.
  • Submit a sample to the Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab (UPPDL).
  • Watch for symptoms of turfgrass diseases.
  • Monitor for damaging turfgrass insects.

October Tips & Checklist

  • See listing of the average last and first frost dates.
  • Consider adding a smaller structure such as a low tunnel or a larger high tunnel to extend your growing season. Try looking at different construction and modifications.
  • Learn how and when to harvest winter squash. Store winter squash in a cool, (50-55°F) dry location.
  • Plant garlic cloves from mid-October through early November.
  • List of fall cleanup chores and good landscape practices.
  • Remove vegetable plants from the garden once harvest is complete to reduce overwintering sites for insect pests.
  • Protect tomatoes from early frost by covering the plants with a blanket or tarp.
  • Overwinter carrots, beets and parsnips in ground, by placing mulch over them. This prevents the ground from freezing.
  • Rototill leaves, compost and/or manure into the vegetable garden to enhance the soil microbe activity.
  • Limit pruning of roses to the heading back of excessively long canes to prevent damage from heavy snow loads.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses in snow prone areas once the foliage has dried down, otherwise leave them until spring and enjoy the vertical accent during winter.
  • Plant spring blooming bulbs through early November.
  • Planting trees and shrubs in the fall enhances root establishment.
  • Dig tender perennials such as gladiolas, dahlias, begonias and canna lilies after the foliage has died down and store them in a cool, (45-50 °F) dry location.
  • Protect trunks of young trees from winter cracking by wrapping them with a white reflective tree wrap.
  • Dig and remove annual flower plantings.
  • Plant cold hardy annuals: pansy, primrose, kale and ornamental cabbage.
  • Prune out (to the ground) raspberry canes that have fruited.
  • Fall is the best time to control tough perennial weeds such as field bindweed (aka morning glory). See a list of weed control options.
  • The last mowing of the season should be 1-1 ½ inches high to minimize disease problems.
  • Apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer late fall, after the last mowing (late October – early November) for early green up next spring.

Pests and Problems:

  • Send diseased vegetable plants and leaves to the local landfill.
  • Use burlap or other soft materials to wrap evergreens to prevent snow breakage.
  • Treat for Coryneum blight in stone fruits (cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums) at 50% leaf drop.
  • Clean up and discard all fallen fruit to reduce overwintering sites for disease and insect pests.

November Tips & Checklist

  • If natural precipitation is sparse and ground is not frozen, water evergreen trees and shrubs to ensure they are well hydrated heading into winter.
  • Winterize - blow out irrigation systems.
  • Winterize lawn mowers, rototillers by either draining the gas or adding a fuel stabilizer (follow manufacturer recommendation).
  • Clean and sharpen dirty garden tools and treat with old oil or other rust inhibiting products.
  • Disconnect hoses from water spouts to avoid freezing damage .

December Tips & Checklist

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