Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is it Time to Plant?

A few days ago, someone posted to a local garden discussion list ready to plant their tomatoes out now since it is so unseasonably warm out right now. Here was my reply:

According to a web chat with climate experts and phenologists* last week, while our winters are starting later and ending earlier, our last average frost dates are NOT moving. They have stayed consistent despite the other calendar date shifts. That means we have a longer growing season overall, but our summer annuals will still get zapped by late frosts if put out too early.

What you can do now is plant shrubs, trees, and perennials. You can divide and move established perennials. You can start seeds indoors for peppers, tomatoes, herbs, etc. You can plant cool-season annual flowers and vegetables out now including peas, alyssum, broccoli, radish, etc. You can clean-out and prep your garden beds. You can take soil tests and add amendments as needed.

There is no shortage of garden tasks to be done right now! Save your warm-season annual flowers and vegetables until all threat of frost has passed.


*Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate.

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