Thursday, March 29, 2012

Too Early to Plant?

Squash Seedling
Our mild winter has rapidly turned into an early spring, leading many gardeners to wonder if it is safe to plant frost sensitive vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash outside now. For some crops the answer is yes, but be prepared to protect them if temperatures near 32 degrees are predicted. For others, even though our days have warmed soil temperatures are not yet quite warm enough for them to grow well. 

In a typical year, coastal areas in our region can expect the last spring frost to occur around March 30, while inland areas often experience light frosts as late as April 15. This year, warmer temperatures seem to have set in early. As a result soil temperatures throughout southeastern NC have already reached 60 degrees or more, making them warm enough to plant many summer crops outside. Though unlikely, frost can still not be ruled out, so if you do plant early have a plan to protect sensitive crops by covering them with old sheets or floating row cover, especially during the next few weeks.

To find out which crops can be planted now and which should not read the entire article, available on the Pender Cooperative Extension website:

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