This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Friday, January 13, 2017

5 weeks 'til I start planting!

It's 16 weeks 'til my last spring frost - which means only 5 weeks 'til I start planting! OK, it's still a while, but why not start getting ready. I have to clean off my plant shelves, get my pots and trays out of the garden shed and clean them all, make sure I have potting soil, and get my seeds ready to go.

I'll be using my planting app again. It's made it very easy for me to keep up with what to plant when. It's at the Apple Store and Google Play. We're in the process of making some upgrades, which should be fun.

The app has no flashy graphics like other planting apps, but also unlike others - it's written by gardeners, contains a lot of information and flexibility, it's very simple to use, no in-app purchases, and it incorporates feedback from the many gardeners who read this blog. Now that I've finished my gardening class, I can also say that the app was written by a "Master Gardener"! Anyway, I find it very useful.

Skippys planting apps IMG_6559 Skippys planting apps IMG_6525
Skippys planting apps IMG_6530 Skippys planting apps IMG_6529

If you search the Apple store for "vegetable" it's the second app listed, and our other apps follow. Or you can use this link: We have two apps, a "Vegetable" app and an "Herb and Flower" app. The Vegetable app, has three versions: Spring only, Fall only, Winter only (each $0.99), and the full season app ($1.99).



Blogger Lara said...

I'm eagerly getting things ready for planting too--even though I have a little longer to wait than you!

January 17, 2017 8:52 AM

Blogger Chrissy Maier said...

How do you wash your pots and trays? Especially now that outdoor water is hard to come by.

January 17, 2017 3:56 PM

Blogger kathy said...

To wash my seed tray, I scrub to remove dirt, and then either put them on the top shelf of the dishwasher or soak them in a dilute bleach solution 1:9 for at least 10 min. Here's a site to give more detail

Some sites say plastic pots only need to be scrubbed. I still disinfect anyway because I can't scrub all the debris off delicate plastic planting trays and pots.

January 17, 2017 10:32 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Btw, I do it all of the cleaning in the kitchen. Here's a picture. As you said, too cold for outdoor water now.

January 17, 2017 10:39 PM

Blogger CHRIS said...

so i'm a little confused as to how to determine the last frost date when different websites give you different dates! how did you determine yours? i'm in walpole, ma (02081) so about 15 miles south of boston but have gotten dates from april 15th (burpee!) all the way to early may depending on the resource i used... help! i'm so confused about when i should get ready to start my seeds under grow lights... something new to me this year!

January 18, 2017 8:38 PM

Blogger kathy said...

Yes! I know what you mean. I’ve had three gardens west of Boston, all in zone 6. Burpee’s zip code-based frost date finder gives April 15 as the last frost date for all. That's correct for the urban garden I had with lots of concrete around and protection by houses. But average first frost dates for my two gardens out in natural areas is May 10.

So there IS as much variation within a region (within one zip code!) as the websites say. Lots of microclimates. Unfortunately, the websites can’t tell you which microclimate your garden is in.

Since you don’t know your frost date, I think the best solution is to find a nearby gardener and ask when their last frost is. Or, ask them when they plant their tomatoes outside, which would be a week or two after the last frost.

Next best, use the on-line dates. Either take an average of what you've found and go with that. Or, if your garden is in a protected area, go with the earliest date – if it’s in an open area, go with the latest date.

Average previous frost dates are only a guess at next year’s anyway. Even if you’ve recorded your last frost for the past 10 years, average it and have a very accurate number, next year’s last frost could still be a week or so earlier or later. It’s not a problem because you have flexibility in when you transplant. Your seedlings won’t mind waiting a week or so before transplanting them outside if it’s a late season.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

January 23, 2017 11:11 AM

Blogger CHRIS said...

Ok. Most helpful thing I've read about frost dates! Thanks for helping to give me some really sensible parameters to use in determining my specific frost date! And for reminding me that even if I have to hold off on transplanting my seedlings for a week or two that they will still be ok. That hadn't really occurred to me yet. Once again-I imagine keeping up with your garden blog and the questions that it's readers post is a lot of work- but I thank you so sincerely! You are not only a source of inspiration for readers like myself but also a trusted source of information and learning!

January 23, 2017 2:01 PM


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