Master Gardener: Are you anxious to begin planting?

By Jerry Vitalis, Chisago County Master Gardener

I think it was Will Rogers who said, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” People have been talking about the weather all winter and it continues into the spring.  Even the Farmer’s Almanac was off on its predictions as we had much less moisture and warmer weather than expected.

Some of the Chisago County Master Gardeners have been receiving calls about planting gardens.  It’s hard to give good advice because we don’t know either, especially this year.  I am writing this on April 1 and it’s Palm Sunday.  I heard on the radio this morning and I think it was in 1992, that on April 1 we had a temperature of one below zero.

Last year Good Friday was on April 22 and on the Wednesday before we had two inches of snow.

I planted some early potatoes the week after Easter and the germination was poor because the soil temperature was too cold.

I’m sure that there are gardeners who planted early potatoes on Good Friday.  If you are a new gardener, you probably don’t know that years ago the farmers always tried to plant new potatoes on Good Friday. Of course, they didn’t plant if the weather was cold and rainy or if the soil wasn’t warm enough.

Between paragraphs I went out and cut my first asparagus, which we ate for supper.  Another reason for picking is that I know we are going to have some more freezing weather and while it won’t kill the plant, it may spoil the spears that are above the ground.

The rhubarb is coming up and I heard of a gardener who has already made jelly for his neighbor.  He has done this for 23 years, but this is the first time that he has been able to make it in March.

I uncovered my garlic last week and it was about six inches high.

If you are anxious to begin planting, start with spinach and lettuce.  Again, I talked to a gardener who planted spinach late last fall and he has already enjoyed one cutting.

By the time this article is published one can think about planting peas, and if the soil is warm, go ahead and plant some early potatoes.

Our Spring Class Series will be over but don’t forget that we still have bare root plants for sale.  Please call our office at 651-277-0141 and ask for Sue.

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