'horticultural how-to and woo-woo' | margaret roach, head gardener
chores by month
The monthly chores are one of my top features (and are all archived below). Though the how-to in them will apply most anywhere–pruning a rose or sowing a tomato seed is similar, wherever the rose or tomato may grow–the when is not the same. I garden in Zone 5B, on the NY-CT-MA border, so you may need to adjust timing by referring to the previous month or even the next. Or search my list of regional calendars.
I WATCHED A ZOOM lecture the other day that really put into words a lot of the ways my own deepening understanding of ecology is shaking up the way I practice horticulture—from spring cleanup, right on to the last chore of the active year. The lecturer was Rebecca McMackin, director of horticulture for Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, where she leads the team that manages 85 acres of diverse parkland with a central focus on habitat creation of woodlands, wetlands, and meadows to build soils and support birds, butterflies, and other organisms.
We talked about the dynamic tactics they use and when and why–a whole different approach to spring cleanup, where the life cycles of animals (from insects on up) dictate what happens when, garden maintenance-wise. Like why some things don’t get cut back, and others that are still seed-laden when they do have their seeds collected and set aside, then returned to the spot after whatever cleanup is needed there.