Van Wisdom: What can go out and when?

Posted on May 2nd, 2022

We get this question a lot this time of year. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as simple as giving you a date—it’s driven by nighttime temperatures, so staying on top of the daily weather forecast is crucial. Since Mother Nature is unpredictable, we stick to the following rules of thumb, knowing that it’s all about being flexible and keeping an eye on the forecast. Annuals fall into a couple of basic planting temperatures:

  • Fuchsias, petunias, nemesia, dianthus, osteospermum daisies, sweet alyssum, snapdragons, bacopa and dusty miller are cold-tolerant early spring annuals that can handle a low nighttime temperature of 40 degrees. For those of you who want summer color in early spring, these are great options.
  • Everything else requires temperatures over 50 degrees (24/7) to be safely put outside. This includes tropicals, houseplants, citrus, and figs.

Mother Nature is always in control. Our smartphones make life a lot easier these days; just look at any weather app and check the hourly tracking. If temperatures are going to drop below those listed above, cover your plants with some type of cloth … but never use plastic! Better yet, bring your plants inside at night (if possible).

Early spring is also a great time to prepare your garden for your herbs and vegetables.

  • Peas, broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, arugula, and lettuce are great options for early spring vegetables.
  • Also, most herbs handle a little bit of cold weather, with the one exception being basil.

Basil and all other vegetables need the nighttime temperatures to be no lower than 50 to 55 degrees.

Planting early doesn’t get them to grow faster. If planted in cold weather and cold soil temperatures it can cause harm to the plant.

  • Causing stunted growth, decreased yield, wilt, and foliage necrosis.

The soil temperature needs to be between 55 and 65 degrees for a happy healthy plant

If you can’t dig the hole for your plant and can’t comfortably put your hand in the hole without it being cold, it’s too early!

We are always available for any questions you may have. We are happy to help!