How to Grow: Phenology


With the changing weather and climate, gardening by the calendar can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to decide when to plant. But nature has a pretty reliable guide, and it’s called phenology.

Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycles. It shows how things in the natural world influence, and are influenced by, variations in climate and seasonal changes. What was once thought of as folklore, has now been scientifically proven to work!

Many farmers and gardeners plant by the indications that are occurring in nature. They watch and wait for cues from nature to know when to plant different flowers, vegetables and crops. And you can, too. Try rules of thumb like:

  • Plant peas when daffodils are blooming
  • Plant lettuce, spinach and carrots when dandelions are blooming
  • Fertilize lawns with corn gluten when forsythia are blooming

And by the way, “spring,” according to the U.S. Phenological Service, is about three weeks early this year so far. Want to learn more on phenology? Check out this site for more cues from nature on when to plant, and this one, too!

Excerpted from All Things Gardening on Vt Public Radio