This is an idiosyncratic but very public calendar of the seasonal tasks at
Longleaf Breeze. Click here for data on location, climate, etc. Because we’re beginners, this calendar will begin incomplete, and we will add to it and change it as we become smarter about how to do this.
January. Avoid planting fruit and nut trees after January 15. Check t-posts, pruners, saws, etc. February is a busy pruning month. Walk! Walk! You’ll be buried in tasks come February. Declare a gas engine day when we crank all the engines that have been dormant over the winter and let them run for a few minutes. If there’s a problem, gives us time to address it before spring. Set out cabbage and other cold-hardy veg. Buy seeds for spring planting.
February. Pruning month for most of the fruit trees. Applying the “May Rule,” this is a good time to prune trees and flowers that bloom after May 1.
March. Prepare for planting season. Get the household chores out the way, because there won’t be time to do them in April. Walk in the woods all you can, for the same reason.
April. Time to start turning and watering the humanure compost and start a new pile. Plant heat-loving vegetables (corn, tomatoes, beans, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers).
May. Time to open stack windows. Move firewood from front-and-center position. Heating season is over. Get all firewood for next winter under roof. Make sure firewood for the winter after that is cut, split, and stacked. Suppress new blackberry primocanes. Late May is a great time to take new muscadine cuttings for propagation.
June. Stay after the weeds. Watch for signs of erosion and get them stopped as soon as possible. Continue suppressing new blackberry primocanes until June 20, then let them grow. Start seeds for fall nightshades.
July. Introduce shade cloth on the tomatoes to keep them from splitting. Plant fall tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in early to mid-July. On or around July 15, pull all blackberry flouricanes and train new primocanes to the trellis line. Put up peaches. Begin watching for the sales at garden supply stores. In particular, watch for native perennials that attract native beneficial pollinators and predators.
August. Compost the zucchini plants in early August and the tomatoes in mid-August. Plant cover crop wherever the summer garden is shutting down. Look for ripe muscadines by late August. Make sure any new trees are protected from deer. They’ll be desperately hungry in the fall. Plant brassicas and fall cover crops in deer plots.
September. Plant daikon and forage radishes. Plant fall veg (brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, collards, and kale). Place under row cover to protect from grasshoppers and other insects. Prune blueberries. Resist the urge to plant lettuce in September. It’s too early, and it will bolt. wait until mid October.
October. Raise a glass. You’ve survived the summer! This is a great time to take soil samples and send them in for testing. Good time for liming the soil. Plant lettuce in mid to late October. Harvest sweet potatoes by mid to late October. You need to get them harvested in time to cure them while you can do it outside, that is, well before the first frost.
November. Great time to lime the soil and the pond. Close the stack windows. This is a good time to clean the guns and sharpen the knives. Great time to plant fruit and nut trees.
December. Mid-day shadows are long this month. Great time to drop a plumb bob at solar noon on a clear day wherever we need to find
true south. Make sure you go into January with most humanure buckets empty. No fun messing with them in January. Plant wheat. Ready for seed starting? Check for grow lights, pans, starting mix, covers, and heat mat.