Monday, April 4, 2022

Reviewing Two Gardening Planner Visual Aids That Helped Me Get Started

Not counting tomatoes and squash, I have not been a successful gardener. And I would dearly love to have a productive vegetable garden. However, I am especially bad at starting my own seeds. I am also really bad at putting plants out too late in the season. Until this year!  This year I have had the help of two seed-starting guides. Today I am reviewing the Clyde's Garden Planner and my local Extension Service Garden Calendar. I haven't yet transplanted my seedlings outside but already am seeing much better results!

 


I have never had much success at starting vegetable seeds for gardens. I also have never had much success outside of growing tomatoes and squash. It always caused me to wonder - why could I grow enough tomatoes and squash to feed a small army but nothing else. Over the past couple of seasons I have learned that successful seed starting has to do with two main things; timing related to last frost and growing conditions. Here I am reviewing two things I am depending on this year with seed starting that relates to timing related to frost dates.

My Past Garden Failures - Not Understanding Frost Dates and Growing Seasons

My gardening style had historically been to buy all of the different vegetable plants I wanted, when they are available in the store, and stick them in the ground (or containers when I lived in the apartment) at the same time. Most - if not all - of those plants died.

Because I am a procrastinator, I often planted late in the spring. I now realize that it was warm enough then for the tomatoes and squash to be happy. But the cool weather plants withered away. And the plants that needed a longer growing season never had the length of time they needed to produce their vegetable.

When I did start seeds, I would start tomatoes indoors and they sprouted despite my ineptitude. If I was lucky enough (rather than skilled enough) to place them in a south-facing window, I ended up with excellent tomato plants. Otherwise, I ended up with super tall, super thin plants that died (I know now that this is called "leggy" and it's from lack of adequate light). I found that I could start squash plants outside by putting seeds in the ground by the time I got around to it (very late spring/early summer). But plants such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkin would grow vines but no vegetable. They didn't have enough time.

I have since learned that vegetable seeds need to be started in related to frost dates. Which means the "last frost date" which is the projected last day in the spring that your area could receive frost and the "first frost date" which is the projected first day in the fall when the temperatures are lowering and frost could appear. 

Last Frost Date and Counting Backward

Somewhere along the way, I learned that seed packets give directions about starting seeds. For example, my Amish Paste Tomato seed packets read "Start indoors 6-10 weeks before last frost."  That's very helpful. 

It is easy to do an internet search for your expected last frost date for that year. This year, mine is May 5th. But then it was a matter of using a calendar and counting back however many weeks for each thing I wanted to plant. I am not an organized type of person and this making lists from calendars and counting back was sheer madness for me.

Then I discovered Clyde's Garden Planner. Absolute relief. 

Clyde's Garden Planter was the best $7 I have ever spent. It is a simple sleeve of super thick card stock folder over, holding another piece of card stock that slides back and forth. You locate your average last frost date in the spring, slide the red line indicating the last frost to that date, and voila! You can easily and quickly see the recommended planting dates (and whether it is to "seed indoors" or "outdoor planting") of 21 different plants!



Easy as that!

I cannot adequately describe how helpful this one little visual tool has been.

More advanced gardeners will appreciate that at each end of the slide there is a wealth of information such as 

  • how many ounces of seeds for a 10' row
  • planting depth
  • distance between rows
  • distance between plants
  • approximate produce yields per 10' row
  • natural plant companions
Finally, turn the card over and you have the chart for summer and fall planting related to the first frost date expected in the fall. 

2022 Garden Calendar - WV Extension Service


The other visual aid that I was thrilled to find just a couple of weeks ago was this wonderful calendar. I received my free copy from a local family-owned nursery.

In this calendar, the pages are full of information about when to plant or harvest plants, reminders for gardening schedules (such as fertilizing, propagating, and watching for garden pests). 

As each area is very different, I will not go into more detail about this calendar. And while I knew that in the United States, we have the Extension Offices that we can contact if we have questions about things such as invasive insects. But I did not know that there was information such as this calendar available. At least at my local Extension Office.

If you are not aware of what your local Extension Office offers, it would be worth giving them a call or checking out their website. 

Related Links:

If you'd like to see a video of my Tomato and Pepper seedlings, click here. I am not an official "YouTuber". I started posting videos to show family and friends my progress on my land. Now that I've moved into my new home I have had a bit more to share and a bit more people interested in looking. 

I previously reviewed The First-Time Gardener Growing Vegetables by Jessica Sowards which has been an extremely helpful and encouraging book about gardening. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

8 comments:

  1. Oh my Dawn, I feel your pain and totally understand where you are coming from. I think that garden centers make most of their profits from gardeners that are just itching to get their fingers into that soil and planting seeds for hundreds of plants and then disaster strikes. Yes, leggy plants, withered experiments and you end up having to go buy plants that are already to set into the ground. I like your planner and the help that it affords gardeners who aren't yet "great growers." I'm very much into keeping track of what works and what doesn't. Glad you found some help and that things will be looking up for your garden this year.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perfect, Dawn. It's great you've found these gardening aids in the form of Clyde's gardening planner and the extension service garden calendar. Like you, I have no idea when and how to begin with seedlings, so it's very helpful to know there are handy garden aids out there for people like us. Good luck with your gardening this year.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can definitely see how Clyde's Garden Planner would be an essential tool for any gardener, even those with years of experience. I've never had a vegetable garden, but I do enjoy flowers. Years ago, I started a personal binder that tells me what, when & where in my yard I planted and had the most success. Successful gardening of any kind does vary by region, as well as soil & drainage. My first home had excellent soil for growing, however my last two homes have had more clay in the soil and required more work before planting. These are all things we learn by trial, error and local help. I can hardly wait to see your seedlings grow into full plants and bear the "fruit" of your labor.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dawn, like you, I have been more of an “accidental gardener” in my past efforts. Now ai see that what I have been lacking was not a “green thumb” but an education in how and when to grow. I have found growing from seed especially intimidating (and unsuccessful). When I’m finally ready to give it another try, I will have this review bookmarked to help me order the Clyde’s Garden Planner tool and remember to check out resources from our local extension office (I never even knew such an organization existed!).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Dawn for these suggestions. Sounds like you've found some great gardening aids.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Our extension center is great! Such a wonderful resource for gardeners of all levels.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love anything that helps people to get into gardening and be more confident in their abilities to garden.I do feel that anyone can be a successful gardener. Even experienced gardeners benefit from continuous learning and trying new ways to do things. Clyde's Garden Planner and extension centres sound great resources! Wishing you all the best with your gardening:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dawn, your diligence is amazing. I'm just not a gardener, however, I do read tips and tricks for what my property needs in terms of flowers and plants. I remember 35 years ago, deciding to tackle our yard, and what I didn't know was tons! Today, I'm better, but still learning - thank you for these wonderful tips.

    ReplyDelete

Review This Reviews Quick View Home Page

The Review This Contributors



Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010RenaissanceWomanLou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaSam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecoratingforEventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G



Review This is Dedicated to the
Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner


We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten





“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X