Spring gardening tips: When you can finally start planting

We’ve finally hit our spring stride. It’s been above freezing for over several days in row and even temps in the 60s have been forecasted. This warmer weather just might stick this time. But before you get too eager running outside to plant your flowers, tend to your veggie garden, or attempt to do something with your lawn (that’s frankly still half covered in snow…) know these planting and lawn tips so you don’t accidently prevent plant growth or destroy your lawn.

Be Patient

This winter has been particularly unkind and certainly, I know my patience has worn thin. But unfortunately, patience is what we need right now. If you start planting tomatoes or raking your lawn, your greenery won’t last for very long.

So when can you start planting?

Well, you’ll know by the wetness of your soil. If when you walk on your grass the soil and ground feels spongy or sticks to your shoes or shovel, then it is too soon. You can also test if the soil is ready by pressing a small amount of soil in your hand. If the soil breaks apart into small clumps it’s ready to go but if it holds it shape the soil is still too wet to plant. Once the ground is dry and clear of snow you can seed your lawn and begin your outdoor gardening.

Cool Season Plants v. Warm Season Plants

Not all veggies and flowers enjoy the heat. Some actually prefer the cooler temps of spring rather than the stifling heat of summer. And since we’re nearing a month late to the start of the growing season, it’s best to start off planting the hardier cool season plants.

Cool season plants:
Lettuce

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Broccoli

Brussel sprouts

Onions

Don’t worry though. You won’t be munching on just onions and broccoli this year. You will be able to plant warm season plants, but it is best to wait until the danger of frost has passed which is usually around late May. Because warm weather plants need a longer growing season, you can get your seedlings going indoors so when the weather is warm, your plants will be ready to transplant outside. You’ll also know when to plant based on the soil temperature. (Most any garden store will supply soil thermometers.) When the soil temp hits around 60 degrees you can pull out your trowel and get to planting.

Warm season plants:
Tomatoes

Eggplants

Peppers

Cucumbers

Pumpkins

Watermelons

All The Pansies

These durable, stubborn little flowers are the glimmer of hope in all this spring snowstorm nonsense. Pansies are perfect for colder weather and can withstand even below freezing temperatures. The only caveat with pansies is that the ones you buy most likely were grown inside a greenhouse and need some time to adjust to the outdoor elements. So before you permanently plant your pansies in the ground, place them outside during the warmer daytime, bringing them in at night, and after a few days of this transition, you can plant the pansies in their official spot in your garden where they will bloom like crazy.

I know we’re all tired of the snow and cold and are just itching to get outside. But if you can wait just a little longer before you break out the mulch and fertilizer, your flowers, veggies, and lawn will pay you back with hardy crops and beautiful blooms.

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