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Planting calendar based on natural events instead of dates  RSS feed

 
dan long
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I've read that Native Americans would judge when best to plant certain vegetables based on when they saw other plants emerging, flowering, etc. For example, the first new buds mark the beginning of Spring and morels emerge at the same time the lilacs bloom. For those of us in the PNW, the weather is so erratic and unpredictable year-to-year that planting and foraging dates can differ as much 2-4 weeks from the year before. Therefore, I feel it makes more sense for us to use natural indicators rather than dates. For instance: "planting X vegetable when Y vegetable forms seed heads" as opposed to "plant X vegetable in mid July".

I thought for sure that someone would have already complied a list of natural events in chronological order so as to make a sort of foraging/hunting/planting calendar but either im wrong or im not using the correct key words in Google.

Does anybody know if such a tool exists and where I can find it?
 
Ludger Merkens
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great idea dan,
Such a calendar would be a way more general approach than any calendar by date. It would work over more years, and probably also in a bigger region.

I don't know such a plant calendar for gardening, but for bee keeping.
typical events which are monitored are:

* blossoming of the hazel - spring cleaning
* blossoming of the redcurrant - second brood chamber given (if wintered on one room)
* blossoming of the sweet cherry - first honey super

perhaps such signals can be adopted for e.g. seeding dates.

good luck
Ludger


 
Tina Paxton
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Location: coastal southeast North Carolina
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dan long wrote:I've read that Native Americans would judge when best to plant certain vegetables based on when they saw other plants emerging, flowering, etc. For example, the first new buds mark the beginning of Spring and morels emerge at the same time the lilacs bloom. For those of us in the PNW, the weather is so erratic and unpredictable year-to-year that planting and foraging dates can differ as much 2-4 weeks from the year before. Therefore, I feel it makes more sense for us to use natural indicators rather than dates. For instance: "planting X vegetable when Y vegetable forms seed heads" as opposed to "plant X vegetable in mid July".

I thought for sure that someone would have already complied a list of natural events in chronological order so as to make a sort of foraging/hunting/planting calendar but either im wrong or im not using the correct key words in Google.

Does anybody know if such a tool exists and where I can find it?


I have an herbalist/organic gardening mentor who is Cherokee Indian. He talks a lot about planting by the moon or by other natural events. He lives in Kentucky so his info would not be helpful to you folks in the PNW. If you have any local Indian Communities, that might be a good place to track down a gardening mentor who is familiar with the old Indian ways.
 
Dave Lodge
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Location: New England
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Shadblow/Serviceberry is used in the Northeast USA when the American Shad are running on the river.
 
Alder Burns
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This is a very good practice and a "calendar" of sorts needs to be developed, or perhaps rediscovered, for each region. I know from living in MI, GA, and now CA that even though some of the same plants grow in all three, they come out at different times relative to each other. In GA, spring is a long slow process, with some things leafing out up to a month or more (such as pecan) after the earlier ones. Here in CA (even though both places are in the same or adjacent USDA "zones"), the spring green-up tends to crowd together into what, to my Southern-accustomed senses, seems absurdly early and risky of frost. Oaks will leaf up right along with other things that in the East precede them by weeks. I think it may have to do with the long hot dry summer and that most plants have to get their real growing done in the spring, so the interest is to maximize that time, even at risk of a late frost; which is rarer in CA than in the East.....
 
Leila Rich
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Rather negative, but I have a bad feeling traditional environmental cues may be pretty unreliable from now on in...
We've had an exceptionally warm winter until this week-
things have started blossoming and nesting over a month early.
Now it's really cold and I feel sad for the tender buds and early birds
 
dan long
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Leila Rich wrote:Rather negative, but I have a bad feeling traditional environmental cues may be pretty unreliable from now on in...
We've had an exceptionally warm winter until this week-
things have started blossoming and nesting over a month early.
Now it's really cold and I feel sad for the tender buds and early birds


That is some really good input. Definitely need to a healthy does of "practical" (what is the noun form of "practical"?) to go along with our idealism.

This natural even calendar should, like a day/month/year calendar, be recognized as a tool and guideline only. As a guideline, there is probably a much smaller margin of error but those of us who have lived in our respective areas long enough can probably recognize the difference between an exceptionally warm winter causing early budding and true Spring; especially when the budding is a whole month early!

 
dan long
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Alder Burns wrote:This is a very good practice and a "calendar" of sorts needs to be developed, or perhaps rediscovered, for each region. I know from living in MI, GA, and now CA that even though some of the same plants grow in all three, they come out at different times relative to each other. In GA, spring is a long slow process, with some things leafing out up to a month or more (such as pecan) after the earlier ones. Here in CA (even though both places are in the same or adjacent USDA "zones"), the spring green-up tends to crowd together into what, to my Southern-accustomed senses, seems absurdly early and risky of frost. Oaks will leaf up right along with other things that in the East precede them by weeks. I think it may have to do with the long hot dry summer and that most plants have to get their real growing done in the spring, so the interest is to maximize that time, even at risk of a late frost; which is rarer in CA than in the East.....


Thank you for sharing this. I guess I assumed that everything came out at more or less the same time relative to each other.

So rather than asking everyone around the country if there is "a" natural event calendar written down somewhere, I should be asking local gardeners, hunters and foragers.
 
dan long
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Tina Paxton wrote:

I have an herbalist/organic gardening mentor who is Cherokee Indian. He talks a lot about planting by the moon or by other natural events. He lives in Kentucky so his info would not be helpful to you folks in the PNW. If you have any local Indian Communities, that might be a good place to track down a gardening mentor who is familiar with the old Indian ways.


How I wish I had Tulalip or any other local friends of the First People. But while i'm sure i could find First People friends on the internet or even just hang out at the Indian reservation until I meet a few, it is pretty offensive to tell someone that you want to befriend them because of their heritage.

I'm an American currently living in Taiwan (i hope to move back to Washington soon). People say the same thing to me; "I want to make foreign friends". That was cute back when I was dating because I recognized that 1) the person saying it didn't mean to offend me and absolutely doesn't know any better and 2) young people objectify each other. I'm at least as guilty as she is. However, now that i'm married and i have heard the same thing for 5 years, when people say that to me or even speak English to me (I'm white so why wouldn't i want to let you practice your English with me?), i usually roll my eyes and find an excuse to leave because I already know that this is not the kind of person i'm going to want to befriend.

I imagine that if i were to set out to befriend someone because of his cultural heritage after he has heard ignorant questions about tipis, his "Indian name", pow-wows and peace pipes or better yet, white people who are 1/32nd Cherokee (me) comparing themselves to him, then hearing it his entire life (not just the 5 years i've gotten questions about hamburgers, guns and large genitals) he would probably be pretty offended by "I want to make some Indian friends so they will give me a foraging calendar"; understandably so.

Sorry. That may have turned into a bit of a rant.

It is great advice and if i had such social resources, i would absolutely use them but every time I think of how I would go about befriending someone who knows anything about the old ways, I can't imagine a way to do so without coming off as a (insert dirty name here).
 
Tina Paxton
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dan long wrote:

It is great advice and if i had such social resources, i would absolutely use them but every time I think of how I would go about befriending someone who knows anything about the old ways, I can't imagine a way to do so without coming off as a (insert dirty name here).


ummm...how about show them the respect for the knowledge they possess? How about ask, respectfully, if they teach. If you have the right attitude I can't imagine a wise person being offended at a humble person wanting to learn. My mentor shares his wisdom freely to all as long as they are respectful and his precious humble nature (and obvious great wisdom) demands such respect without his need to verbalize the requirement. I can't imagine anyone being disrespectful of him...it's just unimaginable. I didn't just go up to him and say "hey, Indian, I want you to tell me everything you have spent your lifetime learning."

You are asking for knowledge that has been passed down enough generations to have good reliability. Who else besides the First People would have that knowledge base? If you want to know, then it behooves you to find it in yourself to respectfully seek that information from those in the know.
 
Mike Gaughan
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Location: Central CT, Zone 6
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The term you are looking for is "phenology", defined by Wikipedia as the "study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation)."

I began using planting signs this gardening season with good success. Some signs I use here in central Connecticut (Zone 6) include:
plant peas when the daffodils bloom or spring peepers sing
plant spring veggies when dandelions are in bloom or the lilacs have leafed out
plant bush beans and summer squash when the lilac flowers have faded
transplant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant when the bearded iris is in bloom.

I did transplant kale, cabbage, and chard according to a calendar date based on X number of weeks before the last frost date. The plants were severely set back by a hard, lingering winter here in New England. The "rescue" transplants that I set out when the dandelions bloomed did just fine. Lesson learned! This stuff is for real, because the native vegetation are far more tuned into soil temperatures and day length than are we, the gardeners.
 
dan long
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Mike Gaughan wrote:The term you are looking for is "phenology", defined by Wikipedia as the "study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation)."

I began using planting signs this gardening season with good success. Some signs I use here in central Connecticut (Zone 6) include:
plant peas when the daffodils bloom or spring peepers sing
plant spring veggies when dandelions are in bloom or the lilacs have leafed out
plant bush beans and summer squash when the lilac flowers have faded
transplant tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant when the bearded iris is in bloom.

I did transplant kale, cabbage, and chard according to a calendar date based on X number of weeks before the last frost date. The plants were severely set back by a hard, lingering winter here in New England. The "rescue" transplants that I set out when the dandelions bloomed did just fine. Lesson learned! This stuff is for real, because the native vegetation are far more tuned into soil temperatures and day length than are we, the gardeners.


Using the search term "phenology calendar pnw" I found EXACTLY what i was looking for. Thank you so much. I'm going to share this information so that others can benefit from it as well.
 
Leila Rich
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dan long wrote:
Leila Rich wrote:Rather negative, but I have a bad feeling traditional environmental cues may be pretty unreliable from now on in...
We've had an exceptionally warm winter until this week-
things have started blossoming and nesting over a month early.
Now it's really cold and I feel sad for the tender buds and early birds

Definitely need to a healthy does of "practical" (...) recognize the difference between an exceptionally warm winter causing early budding and true Spring

I very much agree when talking natural weather cycles.
My post was alluding more to the increasing unpredictability that climate change will add to the equation...
 
Peter Ingot
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dan long wrote:I've read that Native Americans would judge when best to plant certain vegetables based on when they saw other plants emerging, flowering, etc. For example, the first new buds mark the beginning of Spring and morels emerge at the same time the lilacs bloom. For those of us in the PNW, the weather is so erratic and unpredictable year-to-year that planting and foraging dates can differ as much 2-4 weeks from the year before. Therefore, I feel it makes more sense for us to use natural indicators rather than dates. For instance: "planting X vegetable when Y vegetable forms seed heads" as opposed to "plant X vegetable in mid July".

I thought for sure that someone would have already complied a list of natural events in chronological order so as to make a sort of foraging/hunting/planting calendar but either im wrong or im not using the correct key words in Google.

Does anybody know if such a tool exists and where I can find it?


here are some examples of these kind of calendars from around the world: www.ianslunarpages.org/calendar.html
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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