Well it has finally happened. The snow has left. (Except for a few of the piled up places but we can just avoid looking at those areas!) Bulbs are starting to bloom, the trees are beginning to bud out and the birds are returning to the state. Everyone seems to be gearing up for spring and boy do we deserve a good one after last winter!
I wanted to use this blog to send a few friendly reminders for any of you gung ho gardeners out there!
Don’t put out annual flowers too early! Although it may feel warm out there in the afternoon we are still having some chilly mornings! (It was 28 degrees at my house in the morning just a few days ago.) Most annual plants get damage when the temperatures get around 32 degrees. So if you put them out early, best case, you may be stunting their growth for the entire season and, worst case, you have wasted your money and will have to replace them.
Harden annuals and perennials off by putting them out on these warmer afternoons. Most of the plants have been protected in greenhouses and shade houses. If you skip this step, you may have exposed the plants to severe wind and sun burn.
A few more things to think about… If you are shopping for plants and you see that they are left unprotected this early in the year, buy with caution. The plant’s growth may already be stunted by the cold night temperatures and they won’t perform well for you this summer. Look closely at any leaf discoloration or shape; these might clue you in on the health of the plant.
For me, the best way to stall the need to plant as soon as the snow is gone is by planting bulbs in the fall. They come up the moment the snow leaves and give you early spring flowers. Don’t forget the “safe” planting day is Memorial Day or when the tree leaves reach the size of a squirrels ear.