Torbay Organic Gardening Society
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Kitchen Garden Calendar

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YOUR ORGANIC KITCHEN GARDEN MONTH BY MONTH

There are many gardening books,and articles in newspapers and gardening magazines, that contain instructions on seasonal tasks in  the vegetable garden.

There are also instructions on commercial seed packets that tell you how to grow rows of vegetables on conventional garden plots and allotments, giving advice on when to sow seeds, and the distances between rows, and when to plant out seedlings, and the distances between plants.

However, much of this advice is not relevant to the latest type of raised bed organic gardening that uses modern technological developments such as horticultural fleece to protect seeds and plants from frost and predators, and enables plants to be grown much more densely in a smaller area.

Hence, for students and practitioners of raised bed organic gardening, we provide monthly task sheets in a readily accessible and downloadable form.

  • January ‘Seasonal cold is not unwelcome in the January garden, if only because heavy rain is less likely when temperatures are low. There is a French saying that ‘a bad year comes in swimming‘. (Frances Perry) ‘When the weather is impossible, give a little time indoors  to planning. Decide what you want to grow, check the seed catalogues, ...
  • February ‘For the gardener, February is a month to be endured, not enjoyed. If it brings a few mild days, do not be in too great a hurry to start spring sowing, for this is the time of the year when patience is a sensible virtue‘. (Frances Perry) ‘This month often has the worst weather of the ...
  • March ‘Stronger warmth from the sun, lengthening days and shortening nights mean that soil temperatures begin to increase appreciably during March. As a result, plant roots react to the warmer conditions, and signs of spring can be seen in the garden. coming first to the coastal areas in the south-west.’ (Frances Perry) ‘Crops that have been dormant ...
  • April ‘The days are beginning to get longer, but April can be a deceptive month. The weather may turn in the space of an hour from hopeful spring sunshine to cold, vicious winds and pouring rain.’  (David Mabey) ‘From the gardener’s point of view, the typical April showers are welcome because they provide the ideal treatment for ...
  • May ‘In May there can be unpredictable factors. High day temperatures followed by sharp night frosts first induce new growths, then damage those which are tender. Strong winds, storms and even snow are possibilities.‘  (Frances Perry) Whatever the unpredictability of the May weather, provided that you keep all the emergent seedlings and young plants in raised vegetable ...
  • June ‘For the next couple of months, the garden will look at its best. All signs of winter are gone, and with plenty of crops coming to fruition, the vegetable patch should be luxuriant, with rows of broad beans ready for picking, and lettuces and other salad vegetables that can be gathered every day for light ...
  • July ‘July can be your busiest month. In theory, July should be the hottest and driest month of the year, but it seldom is. You should be ready to deal with the effects of drought and very hot weather: not only extra watering and  hoeing, but also fast-growing crops and regular pickings to keep pace with ...
  • August ‘August is a wise time to launch a major onslaught on garden weeds to prevent the threat of  ‘one year’s seeding, seven years’ weeding. ‘ (Frances Perry) ‘The broad beans, early new potatoes and early peas may be coming to an end, but they will soon be replaced by runner beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, marrows and ...
  • September ‘September is the time to begin clearing up the garden, building up the compost heap, and pulling up all the crops that have finished. This month is a mixture of summer pickings and winter preparations.‘ (David Mabey) September can be a most satisfying month, with the last pickings of fine French beans and runner beans being ...
  • October ‘Autumn has finally arrived and preparations for another gardening year make October a very busy month. Inevitably conditions are getting worse week by week, and the wise gardener always tries to do the autumn digging and clearing-up operations as early as possible‘. (Frances Perry) ‘October is the time to start using the spade again. As ...
  • November ‘At this time of year, many of us keen gardeners are digging our plot. In doing so we are clearing the accumulation of summer growth and compaction and exposing the soil to all the benefits of winter weather. Or that is what we have long believed. But recently I have become persuaded by overwhelming evidence ...
  • December ‘The end of the year. But the garden doesn’t come to a standstill. There is always work to be done. The main job is to carry on with the digging and general tidying up of the plot. Also you must fight the weather, anticipate frosts or gales and protect your crops. You will have been ...