Phenological Gardening

By Christine Tate, June 5, 2014

It’s spring and a gardeners thoughts turn to gardening. Well, at least mine do. But this year has been a particularly unusual winter and the season is very off this year. The “last frost date” guide for our area didn’t even come close to hitting the mark. The Bible says that as Christ’s return approaches, things will become more and more unpredictable and chaotic. We are seeing that in the weather.

The good news is that God has prepared for us a way to know when to plant things even when the weather is at its most erratic. He’s given us a calendar for nature and it’s called Phenological Gardening. Phenological Gardening is the science of knowing when to do what based on when the signs appear in nature. By reading nature correctly, we can maximize our gardening results and have an infallible guide created by none other than God himself. The following are time tested phenological signs you can use:

When forsythia and crocus bloom, it’s time to prune roses and fertilize the lawn.

When the shadbush flowers, plant potatoes.

When lily-of-the valley is in full bloom, tomatoes can be set out.

When dandelion blossoms close, it’s going to rain.

When dandelions are blooming, plant beet, lettuce, spinach and carrot.

When bearded iris blooms, it’s time to plant peppers and eggplants outside.

When lilac leafs out, plant lettuce, peas and other cool weather varieties.

When lilac begins to bloom, crabgrass seeds germinate.

When lilac flowers have faded, plant cucumbers and squash.

When flowering dogwood is in full bloom, plant tomatoes, early corn and peppers.

When daylilies start to bloom, plant tomatoes and peppers.

When daffodils bloom, plant peas.

When oak leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear and apple blossoms begin to fall, plant corn.

I hope using this information helps your garden thrive. Remember, even when everything around us seems completely out-of-whack and unreliable, God and His ways are always dependable.



The Potager Garden

By Christine Tate, March 27, 2014

We worship a God who is both creative and organized.  He created the earth and everything in it as well as giving order to the sun, moon and seasons. One day, it occurred to me we can apply that same organized, creative energy to the gardening process with a potager garden (pronounced poe-tah-zhay).  And so began my journey to create my own little creative masterpiece in my backyard.

For those new to the concept, a potagPotager Gardener garden is simply a fancy name for a French kitchen garden.  The garden is similar to any other in that it focuses on growing crops that can be used daily as family favorites.  Stylistically, however, it is very different than the typical dug-in or raised bed styles we commonly see here in America.  The potager garden uses geometry and symmetry in both basic design and planting patterns to turn a simple garden into a work of art.

Building the garden was a fun and inspiring process.  First, I laid out the geometric design I wanted on a piece of paper.  Then, we constructed navigation pathways by adding pavers around the beds.  Next, I chose a fountain as a central focus point for the center of the garden.  Finally, my wonderfully handy husband built a swing on the edge of the garden from a design I handed him.  The swing frame is now home to Arctic kiwi that decoratively adorn that area of the garden during the warmer months.  When I was finished building my potager garden, I marveled at how much fun God must have had when He created His nature masterpiece–the earth.



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