Garden Talk: Let’s go gardening this weekend


It’s time to go to the garden, but not full-fledged planting all the time. Let’s take a look at what garden favorites will survive now, as there will likely be another frost or two in the next few weeks.

We have to watch the temperatures for next week. We will be warmer than we have been, but not super hot. Look for afternoon temperatures mostly in the 50s and 60s next week. Nighttime temperatures will drop into the 40s, with even a few frosty mornings possible on Thursday or Friday of the coming week.

With these air temperatures, the soil will warm up in the 50s. Soil temperature is the most important reading to know if you can plant various seeds.

Cabbage grafts are quite hardy against frost. (Mark Torregrossa | MLive)

Let’s start with the vegetable garden. You can plant seeds of vegetables that germinate with a soil temperature above 40 degrees. While soil temperatures will hit the 50s in the afternoon, it’s probably a week too early for seeds requiring 50 degrees. Give it another week before planting those seeds.

We can now sow the seeds of beets, carrots, Swiss chard, kohlrabi (yum), lettuce, parsnips (yuck), peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips (again yuck).


Brussels sprout transplants will thrive in early May. (Mark Torregrossa | MLive)

Morning cold-tolerant vegetable transplants can also be planted. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, onions and plants. Head lettuce and romaine lettuce can be planted but will need to be covered if there is a risk of frost.


Onion sets can be planted now. (Mark Torregrossa | MLive)

Strawberry plants and asparagus roots can now be planted in the ground. Cover the strawberries in case of severe frost.


Asparagus crowns can be planted in early May. (Mark Torregrossa | MLive)

If you want to get the summer color in your landscape, there are a few annual flowers that can handle a light frost. Petunias are quite cold hardy. You could plant petunias today, Sunday or Monday. We have rain for Tuesday, then colder night temperatures. I probably wouldn’t plant petunias or other annuals in the afternoon before a freezing night. In this case, wait two days and the passage of the gel.

Pansies have always been known to endure the cold. Pansies don’t like the summer heat, so you’ll only get a month of color with pansies.


Hanging baskets can be brought inside if frost is possible. (Mark Torregrossa | MLive)

Most annual flower seeds need a soil temperature of 70 degrees to germinate. Some of the possible direct-sow flowers in the garden, such as zinnias, will have to wait until the end of May before they can be planted.

Hanging baskets and planters often have a few flowers that really like the warm weather. But you can bring the baskets and planters inside on those few cold nights ahead.


Planters can be moved indoors or into the garage before a freezing night. (Mark Torregrossa | MLive)

Perennial grasses and perennial flowers should be suitable for planting. That would be sage, oregano, thyme, lavender, and rosemary. You cannot plant basil in the garden yet, either by seed or by grafting. If we have a hard frost, you can cover the perennial grasses and flowers or simply cut off the frozen and damaged branches afterwards.

Trees and shrubs can be planted now.

On some of these perennial flowers, trees and shrubs, just make sure they have been outdoors in April. If it is a plant that was grown in the warm south or west and fully leafy, it could be vulnerable to cold. The cold, however, probably wouldn’t kill him.

Don’t wait until Memorial Day weekend to at least start the garden. It’s too late. Start developing your gardens now.


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