Is it too early to start planting my garden?
Temperatures are climbing and the spring green-up is starting. Have you felt the itch to start your garden? Even though temperatures feel warm, it's still a little early to take most plants outdoors for the season.
I spoke with Greg Leyes from Ginger Valley Garden Center in Granger to see what we should start doing now to transition our yard and garden from winter to spring as most plants still need to wait to go in the ground.
Before you get to do the fun part (planting the flowers and vegetables), you've got to do some of the hard work around the yard. Get the lawn spreader out now and avoid crabgrass later in the summer.
"It's much easier to eliminate crabgrass by preventing it from growing than trying to kill it when it takes over your lawn," Leyes says.
Temperatures aren't warm enough just yet for crabgrass to sprout, but Mid-April is a good time to put down crabgrass preventer. Your yard might be in a need of a little TLC after the winter, so it's a good idea to give it a good raking before putting down the preventer.
Even with daytime highs in the 70s, early April is still considered cool weather plant season. Once soil temperatures are in the 40s to 50s, you can begin to grow leafy greens (like kale or spinach), or plants like peas and broccoli. Cool weather plants tend to be a bit more frost resistant.
Perennials are plants that come back every year, and they can do well in the cooler spring temperatures. Leyes mentioned that some of these flowers have even bloomed through spring snow before. If you'd like to plant new perennial flowers, early spring is okay to start planting them outdoors.
Warmer weather plants (like the fan favorite tomato plant) aren't quite ready. The greenhouse at Ginger Valley is heated, so they are starting many of their plants indoors for the season.
At home, you can also start some of these warmer weather plants indoors, but they shouldn't be outdoors yet until it's warmer. These plants can die in a late season frost or freeze if temperatures dip below 32 degrees overnight.
Annual flowers, the ones that die in the winter, also aren't ready to go outdoors yet. If flowers are on your mind, you can see quite a few of them in the warm greenhouse, but they aren't ready for your outdoor garden. Yes, it is already spring, but spring lasts until mid June, so there is still plenty of time to get these planted later.
As far as trees and shrubs go, the ones native to Michiana are already starting to bud. Now is a great time to plant a new tree in your yard, just remember to water.
"If April showers cooperate, then there's no problem. If it's not raining enough, then just add water with a hose," recommends Leyes.
Water is especially important for any plants the first year or two year they are in the ground. This includes trees: it might sound goofy, but remember to water your newer trees.
As the season continues and you are able to get things planted, feel free to share a photo of your garden or flowers with the First Warning Neighborhood Weather team.