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Immunize yourself against catching early Spring Fever

Spring fever is going around. Don't catch it yet.

As I am writing this article, it's 75 degrees outside. Temperatures in the high 70's are enough to lure any red-blooded gardener into the yard, but your plants could pay the price. Remember several years ago when we had a hard freeze the middle of April?

Our last frost date usually occurs between April 1- 10. We still have a chance of frost for the next several weeks. The last frost date is calculated by using long-term data to develop an average. The last frost date could be later than that.

Another problem gardeners face is the soil isn't warm yet. It's going to take some 85-degree days to get the soil warmed so the roots will grow. Soil temperatures in our area are still running in the low 50's. If the soil isn't warm enough to encourage root growth, the plant will just sit. Then it becomes vulnerable to root rot and other root-damaging diseases.

Some plants are safe to put in the ground now if you just can't wait for warmer weather. You can plant potatoes now, or lettuce, cabbage or any of the cole crops. They will withstand a lot more cold than tomatoes, peppers or other vegetables.

For almost everything else, it's smart to wait until mid-April to early-May to plant. You can plant the first of April, but you're still facing the risk of one last frost. So check the long-range weather forecast when planting early.

There is still plenty for gardeners to do outside to take advantage of warm spring days. You can start to get the soil worked up. You can sharpen tools, make sure all your equipment is running smoothly, buy fertilizer and start checking out where the good plants and seeds are available.

One good outdoor activity for the preplanting season is to ready the mower. Check your lawn mower and make sure it's ready for the mowing season. You may even want to get out there and clip off those onions that seem to be popping up all over your lawn.

Web posted on Thursday, March 17, 2005


Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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