Friday, April 1, 2016

Can I Plant Vegetables Now?

The answer to the question, "Can I plant vegetables now?" depends on the vegetables you want to grow. The cooler spring temperatures often give way to 70+ degree days, which can fool you into thinking that spring is here to stay. Not in south central Virginia. Nature blows hot, cold, and everywhere in between in spring, and temperatures can rapidly drop below freezing again, killing all those tender flowers and vegetables you worked so hard to grow.

Lettuce and cool weather greens can be planted outside now.

So what's a gardener to do? The Virginia Cooperative Extension has created a wonderful Vegetable Planting Guide that you can use as a guide as to when to plant most vegetables. There's a chart you can customize and even information on which veggies grow best from seeds sowed directly into the garden and which are best grown as transplants. Check out the link above!

If you did make a mistake and plant those tender vegetables and flowers now and a frost looms, remember that you can cover them with cloth blankets, cardboard or newspaper overnight. Cloches, or little hot houses made from clean, empty soda or milk bottles, can also be placed over individual plants.

Garden centers often stock plants at this time of year that you really shouldn't place in the ground quite yet. They want to entice gardeners to spend more and to shop early and often. If you buy them now just to get your favorite varieties before they're sold out, you can keep them in pots or containers outside on a patio or deck. That way if a frost threatens, you can whisk them inside overnight to keep them safe and warm. Just remember to keep them well-watered or else you'll be making another trip to the garden center to replace them!


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