When it is safe to plant the garden

Weather
Stephanie Owens, Cole Owens

Stephanie Owens looks over the garden with her son, Cole, as they tend to it at their home Wednesday March 25 , 2020, in Glen Allen, Va. Owens is a pharmacist who has had to continue to go to work, but has been able to spend more time with her kids because they are home from school . One of the activities that they have done is planting the garden. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

No matter what the year, people tend to want to rush out in the month of April and get the gardens going. While some of the native perennial flowers are blooming, now is not the right time for many plants.

So the question, what flowers can you plant now? Here is a list of flowers that can handle the current weather which includes some frosts, maybe even a light freeze (though keep in mind that if you live in a really cold spot, you may want to wait until May to even plant these in the ground).

  • Candendula
  • Osteospermum
  • Pansy
  • Dianthus
  • Petunia
  • Flowering Kale
  • Dusty Miller
  • Snapdragon
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Geranium
  • Cyclamen

More of a vegetable person? Here is the list of plants that don’t mind the cold.

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Turnips
  • Radishes
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Arugula
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kohlrabi
  • Potatoes

As for more sensitive plants, including the garden favorites including peppers and tomatoes, it is still way too early. Even if by some miracle, you don’t get a frost, these plants don’t root as well in the cold, and a plant planted after Memorial Day, will end up productive than one that was put in the ground in early April. So when is the best time to put these in the ground? When low temperatures are consistently above the lower 40s.

What will kill or seriously harm these plants are a frost. Therefore, no matter how much you want to get them in early, you should wait until after the last frost. That date will range a great deal from spot to spot depending on terrain, but here is the list for the average last ground frost (which can occur with temperatures on thermometers being in the upper 30s).

CountyAverage Last Frost*
Bedford21-May
Blair21-May
Cambria11-Jun
Cameron1-Jun
Centre21-May
Clearfield11-Jun
Elk11-Jun
Huntindgon21-May
Jefferson11-Jun
Somerset1-Jun
* Source (www.plantmaps.com)

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