From weeding to mulching to composting to watering, gardeners have plenty to do year-round. Keeping track of when to tackle each task can be taxing, but determined plant lovers shouldn’t let their spirits wilt by overscheduling their yard and landscape chores.
Numerous websites and publications offer checklists — often grouped by each month — to let devoted gardeners stay on top of when to do various jobs and help prevent them from getting lost in the weeds.
Gung-ho gardeners can find fresh ideas from a range of sources to make sure they aren’t forgetting any important work that needs attention. They also can use these resources to tailor a to-do list that fits their circumstances.
A "Monthly Gardening Calendar for Austin and Central Texas," from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Travis County, can be found at aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/ (click on Monthly Gardening Calendar). Each month is listed to find the necessary garden jobs, covering topics such as fertilizer, water and irrigation, planting, soil, lawns, diseases, pests, maintenance and vegetable gardening, according to the site. For example, the July list for soil says, "Mulch all bare soil. Clean up spring planting beds and add a layer of compost, then mulch." Among the advice for fertilizing in July, it says, "Cease fertilizing perennials since most are in their summer dormancy. Add fertilizer to annuals if needed, but be sure to water deeply. Over-fertilizing in summer is a common plant killer," and more.
The site has been undergoing updating, and "Our traffic has increased a lot so (I) am hoping that means people are finding it useful," says Sheryl Williams, horticulture program assistant with the AgriLife Extension Service.
Monthly checklists also are available on Texas master gardener websites in various counties. Bell County Master Gardener Association’s Garden Checklist at txmg.org/bell (click on Gardening Checklist) covers a lot of ground each month – from general maintenance to vegetables, ornamentals, lawn care and more.
The thorough checklist is put together using multiple sources, says Rachel Glass, a Bell County master gardener, adding that some callers to the help desk ask "about the checklist or things related to the checklist," Glass said.
The folks at Backbone Valley Nursery in Marble Falls have thorough "Monthly Gardening Checklists" on the site at backbonevalleynursery.com (hover over "Blog"). In a lighthearted manner, the July list, for example, advises: "Oh good gracious! Who ever heard of planting vegetables in Texas in July! As ridiculous as that may seem, NOW is the time to begin planting and planning for our fall gardens. Pull out those old, tired, diseased and insect ridden cucumbers, green beans and summer squash to make room for the late summer and fall crops that will begin producing more fresh produce for your table."
Along with other to-do items, the checklist gives recommendations for reading sources, such as Texas Gardener magazine.
The checklists — geared for Central Texas, Zone 8b — are useful because, "With gardening, in Central Texas especially, TIMING IS EVERYTHING!" wrote nursery manager Mary Kay Pope in an email. "It can be quite a challenge to garden here if you have gardened elsewhere. Having timely information is critical."
A to-do list for each month also can be located at the site for "Central Texas Gardener," the long-running Austin PBS, KLRU-TV show. At centraltexasgardener.org, tasks are organized into various topics, such as fertilizing, pruning, prepping and others. Also, listings show what can be planted at that time of year. In July, for example, the list for food crops to plant includes okra, eggplant, peppers and more.
Author and radio host on Texas gardening Neil Sperry offers an e-gardens newsletter on his Neil Sperry’s Gardens site at neilsperry.com. It includes a "Gardening This Weekend" section that covers timely gardening tasks to tackle. Plant lovers can sign up to receive the e-gardens newsletter regularly via email.
Books such as "Texas Month-by-Month Gardening: What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year," by Robert "Skip" Richter, also breaks down the numerous gardening jobs into chunks.
"The Old Farmer’s Almanac" offers gardening "tips and tasks" by month (at almanac.com/gardening/tips). Users type in information such as their city or ZIP code to find suggestions for their region. For example, in the Southeast Region for July, the site recommends, "In the first half of the month, you can still plant okra, pole beans, lima beans, and corn," among other suggestions.
The Garden Helper, at thegardenhelper.com includes a calendar for gardening tasks each month, primarily focused for USDA zones 7 and 8, but the site says, "Gardening tasks are the same, no matter where you live. They are just done in a different month!"
From Home Depot, the site gardenclub.homedepot.com has a monthly calendar with generalized information, as well as additional recommendations based on region.
Of course, for those looking for even more to keep them busy digging in the dirt, additional checklists can always be found by googling "garden" "monthly" "checklist," as well as including an area, such as "Central Texas."
There’s always more to do.