Figueiredos Greenhouses... A growing greenhouse for over 60 years!

 

Can we plant yet?

 

In the car it's, "Are we there yet?" In the kitchen it's, "Is it done yet?" And in the greenhouse it's, "Can we plant yet?" This is the question we answer the most during April and May when warm, sunny days awaken our desire to plant the garden. In April we can't imagine anymore bitter cold days or freezing nights, but the reality is that Mother Nature is just teasing us and letting us know that spring is on the way. Then comes May and the days are warm and wonderful and we forget that "Frosty" has not left on his summer vacation and he will paint a few nights before he goes.
 
     Helpful gardening hints from Figueiredo's Greenhouses to help you decide if you can plant yet.

 

· Gardening Tip #1 What can I plant in April? You can plant leaf vegetables (lettuce, kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, etc.) These tasty treats love the cool weather and soil (they don't flourish in the heat of summer). Pansies, Violas, Perennials, etc. love the cool weather too, but make sure they have been "hardened off" (a plant that has slowly been exposed to cool temperatures). For example, if you purchase a Pansy from our warm greenhouse don't plant it outside unless a few days and nights of temperatures over 45 degrees are predicted. Or, put the plant outdoors on nice days and bring it inside at night for a few days and then plant it when the night temperature is going to be mild. Frosty nights, even a snow shower, will not damage a hardened plant that will grow outside in April.

· Gardening Tip #2 Can all plants be "hardened off" so frost will not harm them? The answer is NO! Fruit bearing vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, squashcucumbers, etc. cannot be hardened off. They need night temperatures of 50 degrees or higher. Begonias, impatiens, marigolds, etc. are also in need of warm temperatures, day and night, and warm soil. One frosty night can kill them! Geraniums on the other hand will survive a frosty night but the flowers will be damaged and the leaves will turn red. Plants that cannot tolerate' frost or cold soil may survive but they will not thrive until the weather stays warm.

· Gardening Tip #3 When is the last frost? The answer is YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE! There are some elastic guidelines ... the last frost is usually anytime between early May to the end of May in this area. Frost in early June is possible but rare. If you live near the ocean, in the city, or inland, your last frost more than likely will be mid May. If you do plant in early or mid May watch the weather reports and read the next hint.

· Gardening Tip #4 How can I tell a frost is coming and what can I do? Hopefully, the weatherman/woman will predict a frosty night ahead of time so listen to the weather. Also, stick your head out the door and if it's a crystal clear, beautiful evening, the stars are twinkling, and there isn't even a whisper of wind ... frost could be on the way! Frosty does not visit on windy, rainy or warm nights. What can you do to save the plants you've put outside? Cover the plants that aren't frost resistant with a paper bag, bed sheet, newspaper or anything handy. You just want to prevent the frost from landing directly on the plants, and the covering won't blow off because frosty nights are calm. If you wake up to unexpected frost, get out the hose and wash the frost off immediately and pray. Damaged plants will turn black or show injury in a day or two. If the leaves are injured but the plant is still alive don't despair, it will no doubt grow out of the injury.
 

Remember
, no matter how hard we try to rush the season we still can't warm up the soil in April, chase away the frost in May, or fool Mother Nature. Great plants and good advice are the beginnings of successful gardens so buy wisely and think of gardening as a wonderful challenge and enjoy! 

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