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Use Nature’s Cycles as Your Gardening Guide

Studying and recording the timing of natural events like plant bloom, animal hibernation and reproduction is called phenology. Gardeners often use phenology as a planting guide and to time pest management. 

Since plant development depends on soil and air temperatures, using it as a planting or pest management guide is more reliable than calendar dates. Monitoring bud break, leaf expansion and flowering can help you time some of your garden activities.

Try planting peas, lettuce and other cool-weather crops when the lilac leaves are about the size of a mouse’s ear. Wait until the soil warms and lilacs are in full bloom to plant your beans. As the lilac blooms fade and temperatures rise, plant squash and cucumber seeds. 

Sow seeds of cabbage and broccoli when the catalpa and mockorange are in bloom. These will sprout and grow and be ready for harvest in fall.

A bit more information:  Join gardeners, naturalists and citizen scientists across the country monitoring plants throughout the seasons in Project Budburst. The goal of this project of The Chicago Botanic Garden is to uncover stories of how the changing climate is affecting plants. Sharing these stories can help increase appreciation for plants, nature and conservation. 

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