44April 27, 2017

The old saying is that April showers bring May flowers. If that is the case, we should have a lot of flowers come the month of May!

The weather may be rainy and it is still cool, particularly at night. This past Sunday, the temperature dropped in the early morning hours. When I got up Sunday morning, the temperature was 34 degrees. If things freeze at 32 degrees that was dangerously close to a killing frost.

The reason that I bring this up is because people want to rush the planting season. This particularly holds true when it comes to the vegetable garden. As I have said in the past in this column, there are things that you can plant in the garden very early in the season. There are also plants that need warm soil and these plants have no tolerance for cold nighttime temperatures. We have had many people come into the store looking for tomato plants and pepper plants. These two vegetable plants for years have been considered plants that you put into the garden around Memorial Day. In our area, the last average frost is somewhere around the middle of May. There have been frosts as late as late May. The old adage is that you wait until after the full moon in May to plants frost intolerant plants. This year, the full moon is May 10th. When you have a full moon, you often get clear nights. This allows the warm air to rise up and dissipate into the upper atmosphere. The air cools rapidly and frost settles onto the land. Tender vegetable plants that are exposed to a frost will die. Even if we don’t have a frost, temperatures that are in the low 40’s and upper 30’s will stunt the growth of the warm weather vegetables. This can result in overall poorer plants for the rest of the season and as a result lower yields of vegetables. I know that for several years we have had weather that allowed some people to think that they could plant tender vegetables early in the season. We have had some very strange weather this spring. I won’t plant tomato and pepper plants until Memorial Day weekend. If you want to plant early, that is OK. We will have plenty of plants to sell you then to replace the plants you lost by planting too early.

It would appear that you are running out of time to put down an application of crabgrass preventer. Soil temperatures are warming and soon the crabgrass seed will sprout. There also appears to be a shortage of some of the control products. If you want to control the crabgrass seeds that are sitting on your lawn, you should do it this weekend.

People have come into the store with samples of leaves and branches from many different shrubs. It appears that the winter wasn’t kind to many shrubs. Last summers drought appears to have damaged plant roots and this prevented the plants from taking up enough water in the fall to help the plants to survive the up and down temperatures we had this past winter. At this point in time, an application of an appropriate fertilizer may help those roots to get re-established. If the fertilizer doesn’t do the trick, the warming spring temperatures may kill the plant due the inability of the plant to take up enough water to support spring growth.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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