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timing seed planting by observing nature ...not the calender

 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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I keep records of my garden every year in a spread sheet. what I plant when I plant when I harvest etc. This year I took notes of my observations of the flora and fawna around us here. I intend to time my planting next year by natures clock instead of the calender.......

so for example... instead of always planting potatoes by the 3rd or 4th week of march I will plant the potatoes when the nettles have just popped up..
OR
when the strawberrie bloom plant My cucumbers and beans.

I have heard the old saying "plant your peas on presidents day" . That does not work in my area as the peas just rot in the wet ground, BUT this is probably a good rule of thumb for many. So I am going to make My own rules of planting like "When the lilac blooms transplant the zuchinni".....that does not sound very poetic!

So I have been observing when the leaves on certain trees bud and when certain plants bloom.......maybe someone has already come up with all these commonalities?? I would love to know a source for more info on this.
 
gani et se
Posts: 215
Location: Douglas County OR
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That's a set of observations I'd like to get! Since I'm in western Oregon, I could use them as a place to begin.
I wonder, now that we have had the first rain of fall, what chores are appropriate for the intermountain valleys... Have I missed my moment for a fall polyculture? (Just got the land in July, so was waiting for the rain to soften the soil.)
 
Melba Corbett
Posts: 164
Location: North Carolina
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  My Grandparents always said, "plant the field corn when the oak leaves are the size of squirrel's ears." 
 
Benjamin Burchall
Posts: 182
Location: Long Beach, CA
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When I lived in California, I planted just after the first good rain of the rainy season, preferably the next day. I tried to soak my seeds the night before to give germination a head start.
 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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My Grandparents always said, "plant the field corn when the oak leaves are the size of squirrel's ears.


This is a good one, I will put this in my notes.......The one thing I have noticed is that the Oak tree is on a totally different schedule than the rest of the trees around us. I like to time things to the oak because it has such distinct patterns
 
John Polk
steward
Pie
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Nature tells us a lot if we are willing to listen.

Several years ago, a friend and his father went to investigate some land in the high plains.  As they were driving away, the father said "The sage brush ain't but knee high.  That land ain't worth plowing.".
 
                                      
Posts: 172
Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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yeah, natural conditions are what actually matters for planting and seeding.

Of corse the guys packing the seed-bags will put on it what aproximates the dates on the calender with the required circumstances needed for the particular seed to germinate, and have a good start.

And noticing what else in nature is germinating might be a good way to go about it.

However this may be limited a bit. Some plant rythms are influenced by warmth, others by cold or moist. Others even by the lengtening or shortening of days.

So while in most years the moment that the soil is heated up enough for certain seeds to germinate and grow healthy, and the budding of certain tree might coincide. The next year the budding of the tree might happen much earlier (by an earlier and warmer spring), but the amount of hours light during the day might not be right for germinating and growing the plant you want.

So when making an observation, and creating hypothesis on this (for example the oak and corn) it is probably worthwile looking up to which natural cycles they react, and if similar, your hypothesis is more likely to work.

cheers
 
Fred Winsol
Posts: 155
Location: Sierras
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thought I'd share my planting practice...
I'm a big fan of Rudolph Steiner and biodynamics.  Years ago discovered the Maria Thun calendar in Austria... which i now get at the Steiner College bookstore... it goes by the name:  "The northr american Bio Dynamic Sowing and Planting Calendar" ...  i has way more features than a person could understand without hundreds of hours of studying. 

I basically use it to time seed plantings, thinning, pruning and harvesting.  Easy to use color chart summarizes it all.  There's also some peer-reviewed scientific support for these cycles,  which go back millenia... way more than lunar cycles.... original wisdom.

 
Jonathan Byron
Posts: 225
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Using those types of signals can work. I don't know that it is definitely better than using a calendar based system in places where we have a good handle on the risk of a freeze on any day of spring.  Both systems fail sometimes, and there is no system that gets away from the conflict between type I vs type II error ... either you plant earlier, which increases the risk of killing frost, or you plant later, which delays the harvest and might reduce the yield. Usually, the risk of killing frost has a bigger cost, so people delay planting.

 
Sue Miller
Posts: 44
Location: NE Oregon
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I listened to an Agroinnovations podcast on this subject last spring. http://agroinnovations.com/index.php/en_us/multimedia/blogs/podcast/
Scroll down the page to episode #119 The National Phenology Network if interested.

Websters defines phenology as 1: a branch of science dealing with the relations between climate and periodic biological phenomena (as bird migration or plant flowering)
2: periodic biological phenomena that are correlated with climatic conditions

It might have been this podcast where I learned to plant potatoes when the dandelions flower.

The National Phenology Network is gathering phenologic observations as a way to understand climate change. Anyone can participate by contributing observations on their website http://www.usanpn.org/
 
Thelma McGowan
Posts: 170
Location: western Washington, Snohomish county--zone 8b
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It might have been this podcast where I learned to plant potatoes when the dandelions flower.


That is another good one, I will add that to my notes....Thanks for the info and the link to the pod cast. I look forward to listening.
 
Jordan Lowery
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Location: zone 7
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i find older trees are best to observe for this type of thing. annual crops can sometimes be tricked into thinking its spring( say short warm period in late January, same goes for short lived perennials. hell even some fruit trees are tricked on the bad years.

animals are also good indicators.
 
Chad Ellis
Posts: 68
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
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Does anyone have experience with winter sowing? It seems that could be ideal for letting nature decide when to germinate. I aways have a few volunteers that come up before I even have planted their brothers and sisters. They always seem to survive the weather. It is usually the insects that get them in my yard.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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