Using Phenology in the Garden

Given our northern location here in Eastern Quebec, it can be difficult to find reliable information in gardening books, for example, about when to sow and transplant for best results. That's why we've used our years of experience to develop a sowing and planting calendar that can help guide you. However, another way to learn your way around your garden is to use phenology. 


What is phenology?

Phenology is the study of cyclical natural phenomena and events. Basically, paying attention the natural changes in our environment from season to season and then using your observations to help you understand when to plant and harvest.

For the garden, there are three things that are particularly interesting to remember:

1- When the dandelions are in bloom and your lawn is long enough to mow (although we should always wait for the dandelions to finish blooming before mowing the lawn), ground temperature has reached over 6C. This is the time to:

  • Plant out leek, onion and shallot seedlings in the garden. These vegetables are cold hardy and can tolerate cold nights and light frost.
  • Sow spinach, peas, lettuce and radish in the garden.

2- When the apple trees are in bloom, the ground has reached around 12C, this is a sign that you can:

  • Sow carrot, beet, Swiss chard and cabbage seed.
  • Plant your seed potatoes in the ground.

3- When the lilacs are in bloom, the ground has reached around 18C. This is your sign to:

  • Sow bean seeds.
  • Transplant pepper, eggplant, cucumber, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, herb and flower seedlings... But you must make sure there are no overnight frosts on the forecast.

This is how you can really on your observations of the natural changes in your environment to plant out at the best time.