Are these warm sunny days making you itchy to plant things? Sprouts has plenty of frost tolerant plants that could go in the ground this weekend, so plan your weekend to satisfy that spring fever itch!
Vegetable gardeners, now is the time to plant brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts). Sure, they can go in the ground later, but planting them now means you’ll be feasting on garden treats sooner rather than later! The same goes for celery, leeks, and either onion plants or sets. Be aware that plants will need a few days to harden off, while sets (bulbs) can go straight into the ground. The beauty of sets is they have their own water reserve, so if moisture is not on the horizon, they can might be your best bet.
Perennial crops can be planted now. Our asparagus and rhubarb are hardened off for light frosts, but cover them if temps dip down to low 20s. The artichokes haven’t been hardened off yet, but don’t let that stop you. Artichokes, and other plants that are still used to the greenhouse, need to be hardened off before being planted. Hardening is an easy process, and this article explains it well.
If you’re not on a low-carb diet and want more potatoes in your life, this is perfect planting time for spuds. Start direct seeding your leafy greens- lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, sorrel, bok choy, and chard. They’ll be up and growing soon! Plant some every two weeks so you’ll always have a new crop to replace to old, bolted and bitter. If you want a head start on your home-grown salads, we have kale, bok choy, chard, beets and lettuce mixes that are leafed out and ready to be transplanted.
Peas – sugar, snap or shelling- are very cold hardy, so drop a row of peas in the ground while you’re at it. Turnips, kohlrabi, parsnips, radishes, beets, and carrots are root vegetables, so they should be direct seeded, and that can happen now. They’ll appreciate the chance to get their growing and production done before summer’s hot days come along. If you missed the chance to plant garlic in the fall, consider planting a spring variety in the coming couple of weeks.
Life is not just about vegetables. At least a few (hundred) of us are craving color in our lives! Thankfully, there are a number of flowering annuals that are also frost tolerant. Pansies and violas are blooming away, and sure to put a smile on your face. The wall of calibrachoas (aka million bells, or callies, or “those flower that look like small petunias but aren’t petunias”) is full of vibrant colors. Petunias- the real petunias- are blossoming, and the variety of colors is fantastic. Petunias can handle frost, but won’t do much growing until days get warmer. Osteospermums or African daisies are bursting with flower buds, and a few have popped open. Snap dragons are a remarkably frost tolerant plants and come in a variety of heights and colors. This year’s batch of perennials that were seeded in winter are now outside, hardened off, and ready to be established in your yard. Some are even blooming already!
If bulbs are your thing, there are a number of spring bulbs to consider planting now: dahlias, lilies, callas, and gladiolus. All have a variety of colors to choose from, and do well in our area. Budget minded gardeners might consider sowing flowering sweet peas, pansies and bachelor’s buttons seeds in your garden beds. They all flower prolifically for a long time.
In case you’re leaning more towards permanent plants, spring is a fabulous time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. The soil has gathered moisture through recent storms, and has softened up. Digging is easier now then in the fall after heat and low moisture has compacted the soil to a cement-like state.
So go ahead, scratch that gardening itch!