There are many factors; seasonal shift, plant variety, micro and macro climate, that will all affect the planting times in each of our individual gardens. I am sure only through trial and error and getting to know our garden will we truly know the best times to plant. But I don’t know about you, but I at least like to work from some kind of guide.
Together Melanie and I own a number of gardening books and have a sow when poster on the wall. I have referred to all of these, among others, at different times for advice on when and what to plant. However it escaped me unnoticed for some time that all these sources gave differing advice. Of course one would expect slight discrepancies, like planting in January instead of December, but on close inspection I have discovered all these guides to have what would appear blatant contradictions. Just look at this example for planting cauliflower in a cool climate:
For most beginner gardeners this will hopefully go unnoticed, like it did for me for so long. But if like me you are unfortunate to become aware of this fact, oops! sorry, it might cause a great level of anxiety because now who are you going to believe and trust? Seriously, I have got to choose one of these guides to follow but I don’t know which?
Looking at the cauliflower example has me wondering whether any of these authors know what the hell they are talking about. In fact, maybe they are not gardeners at all? Despite the excitement of possibly uncovering the greatest conspiracy of the gardening world, sadly I think this highly unlikely. So what is the reason then?
It could be that each of the authors is talking about a different plant variety, or maybe there were seasonal differences in the years the guides were written. Another thought of mine is that each of these authors could be drawing on experiences from the neighbourhood in which they garden. They most likely would consult with their peers, but is it possible they too would be confined to their local knowledge?
So driven by the desire for a solution, there is now a gardening site called Sowity that enables you to produce a planting guide specific to your local area. Powered by the recommendations given by other gardeners within your neighbourhood, my hope is that this guide offers the best chance of being the most accurate, as gardening guides go at least.