Wednesday, February 18, 2009

February is getting very springy

We have seen Forsythia in bloom and Daffodils are open, the first fruit trees are turning white and one Rhododendron flower has opened. Our camelias are in full bloom and some nice warm weather has been making it feel like spring is just around the corner! But the thing that most makes it spring around here is the greenhouses filling up with tomatoes, peppers and herbs! The first tomato plants of the season are about 4" tall and look gorgeous! We will begin our first shipment on March 2nd and from that point on it will be chaos around here.

When do I plant tomatoes in my area is one of the most commonly asked questions we get so here are some helpful tips and a map of expected average last frost dates for the US. Keep in mind that these are estimates so you should always be careful to watch out for late frosts that can do severe damage to young tomato plants. Also, using wall o' waters or season extending mini greenhouses can give you an earlier planting time and give a boost to your plants that will get you larger fruit than your neighbors!

The best time to plant is not the same for everyone. Each person has to decide at what point their garden is ready for certain types of herb and vegetable plants. Perennial Herbs can be planted just about anytime it is beginning to get warm but Annual herbs such as Basil and Dill need to wait until night temperatures are well above freezing every night. Tomatoes and other "warm season" vegetables are frost tender and will be severely damaged by even a light frost which can happen when temperatures are as low as 36-38 degrees. "Cool season" vegetables such as lettuce and broccoli like a bit of frost but a light freeze can cause damage and hard freezes will kill them completely.