When is it safe to plant?

Posted by Jessie Jacobson on Apr 13th 2017

We're almost there! Spring weather is on the horizon, but then it's not. It snowed on Tuesday! The ground seems ready to be cleaned and raked. Perennials that were left up for the winter can be cut back and refreshed. You will know when the soil is workable for in ground planting when it balls up but still crumbles like a perfect cookie dough, not too wet, not too dry.
  • Cool weather annuals like pansies, grasses and ivy can take a light frost.  Stick with those in containers for now.
  • Cool weather veggies, including cole crops, potatoes and onions, can be planted as soon as the soil is workable. It's time, people.
  • Perennials have started to roll in the door and will be tempered to take a chill, but a good frost could knock back early blooms.
  • Annuals, fresh from our growing range, are ready to be shipped and will start appearing on our bench tops this week.
  • Hanging baskets have a couple weeks of grow time in the cozy greenhouse before they should be purchased. They really love it in the greenhouse right now.
  • Tropical plants are all loaded up and ready to ship our direction, but will be too chilly until night temps rise.
I know you won't believe us on a day like today, but the last average frost in our area can be as late as May 15. Yikes! Last season, it was 90 degrees the Friday before Mother's Day and then we had a light frost. Talk about mercurial weather. For tropical plants and annuals such as coleus, potato vine, lantana and a bunch of other stuff, Tonkadale recommends that you wait to plant these items until the nighttime temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees F and the danger of frost has past. When will that be? Nobody knows! In the meantime, it's OK to hoard plants in your garage or basement or wherever, but just make sure to get them tempered and outdoors on these nice sunny days. We always hear, "But it's a short season." Yes, it can be, but remember our glorious late summer and fall weather when annuals have a resurgence of blooms as they exhale from the heat of the summer and give it one more go?! Begonias, geraniums and marigolds blooming all the way to late October in some cases; rosemary harvested for the Thanksgiving turkey! Cheers to the garden! Happy spring!