The Right Time to Plant
Is It Too Early To Plant My Flowers?
By Jay Mclaren
Without any doubt this is the number one question each spring. Our favourable weather encourages early planting, however, it would not be the first year that a sudden change in temperature occurred and cold westerly weather moves in. The old rule of thumb for planting tender plants and vegetables in your garden is the 24th of May. That is traditionally the long weekend. This year the long weekend came early. Historically frost has been as late as June 9th. The answer is yes there is still a danger of frost, so it is too early to plant. Having said that, many people have already planted out. If we get extremely cold weather, it will be necessary to cover plants in your garden. Areas that are out in the open are more risky. Areas that are near or protected by the house, will have less risk of frost. Of course, containers and planters can all be moved inside in an emergency.
If there is a risk of frost, water on the leaves of tender plants helps to insulate and reduce the risk of damage. A watering in the early morning (as early as 4 am) may help to defray damage from frost. Of course, if the temperature drops more than a few degrees below freezing even covering and moisture on the leaves won't help.
Experience has proven that early plantings are no further ahead by late June than those that have been delayed. The reason for this is that these tender plants prefer warm soil for getting started. The soil is just now starting to warm up. The other factor to consider is the amount of moisture. Heavier clay type soils remain wet much later than lighter sandier soils. Heavier soils should be planted later so that they have less extremes of wetness.
There is no fast easy answer to this question. Trial and error will prevail.