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Spring Is Here: So We Can Plant Gardens, Right?

14 Apr 2014, 11:18 am

It’s mid-April, and if you’re a “green-thumber” like myself (or what I aspire to be, having bought my first house in November) you are probably chomping at the bit to plant your garden.



We just tore out the old garden set-up and re-built it over the weekend (see picture above).  So, being the impatient person I am – I went out and bought a bunch of pre-grown plants so I could plant them ASAP.

Little did I know I’m now going to be housing those plants inside the house for another month!

What should I have done?  Checked when the average last frost is for my area, and found plants that can withstand frost – and then waited to grow/buy the plants that are more tender.

Let’s start by looking at average last frost dates throughout the nation:



I found this map here, and it reveals some good insights: namely when you can plant your more tender vegetation.

But which vegetation/plants/etc qualify as “tender?”  Immediately tomatoes come to mind (so I bought 5 tomato plants yesterday and they will need to stay indoors until mid-May!), but what other plants qualify as hardy or tender?

I found an article about the frost tolerance of vegetables in your garden, and it reveals some insights:

Likely damaged by light frost: Beans, cucumbers, eggplants, muskmelon, New Zealand spinach, okra, peppers, pumpkins, summer squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelon, amaranth, and winter squash (plants).

Can withstand light frost: Artichokes, beets, carrots, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage, endive, lettuce, parsnips, peas, Swiss chard, escarole, arugula, bok choy, mache, and radicchio.

Can withstand hard frost: Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips, leeks, and sorrel.

So, if you live in Minneapolis, you might wait until mid-May to plant tomatoes, while in Atlanta you can probably plant them in early to mid-April (although this winter/spring is probably a good year to err on the later side of that!).

Taking a look at this map below, hopefully folks in the various shades of blue/purple on this map didn’t plant yet!  These are a variety of freeze warnings/watches/advisories across a big chunk of the nation for tonight and into tomorrow!



Stay tuned, and feel free to share your own gardening tips!

WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV

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