Getting Ahead Of Myself

I’ve had a couple of minor disasters in the garden this spring. Both my basket tomatoes and my courgettes got planted out way too early, resulting in a loss of plants.

Until today, it has been a puzzle to me why I decided to plant them out – it seemed to me I would start off thinking “it’s too early for X”, then suddenly decide that if anything I had left it late, and then – after I had planted – I watch the plants slowly die.

The answer came to me this lunchtime, as I waited for my burgers to cook on the BBQ – it is all the fault of the gardening magazine.

Here in the UK (and, I believe, in the US as well), magazine publishing is a bit odd, in that the cover date of monthly periodicals tends to be one month in advance. Thus the May edition of “Grow Your Own” magazine (a mag which I can recommend!) arrives in the shops in the first week of April, and I managed to buy the June edition on May 1. I think the idea is that shoppers are fooled into thinking the magazine on the shelf is more current than it is, and on odd occasions I have been irritated to find I have just bought the same magazine that I purchased 3.5 weeks ago.

However annoying that is, it has never been a huge issue regarding content until now. For I have just realised that the advice that gardening magazines give relate to the cover date, not the date published. Which is why, on reading an article on Courgettes in last month’s mag (published April, cover date May) I was panicked into planting my courgettes and baby toms a month early.

Seems obvious, in retrospect.


  1. May 3, 2009

    I think the cover dates on stuff is kind of like a magazine sell by date, there to tell the retailer when to take it off the shelf to make way for the next issue. Still doesnt explain why the advice in stuff like garden mags is ahead if time though.

  2. May 3, 2009

    I think the cover dates on stuff is kind of like a magazine sell by date

    Yup. At least, that was the answer given a decade or so ago, when a reader wrote in about cover dates in DWM.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *