Time to Garden!

So, what outdoor activities or hobbies do you love to accomplish outside? Take a peek out the window and you can feel that May is just begging for you to get outside and get your hands dirty.

If you’ve got a green thumb, aspiring gardeners should check out The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Time to … gardening column by Michael Mills. A lifesaver for novice to expert gardeners, his column blooms with a host of helpful tips that can help you prioritize planting tasks and make sure you meet all of those garden-related deadlines.

In his latest column, Mr. Mills gently reminds us that: Now’s the time to begin planting shrubs, trees, and perennials. You can also start on that vegetable garden of yours by planting beet, carrots corn, and spinach seeds.

Gardeners, who have been cooped up all winter, are just itching to don their gardening gloves and start cultivating. You should know, however, that May is only the very beginning of the growing season. To novice gardeners, May could seem a bit early to start planting. And although May is early, it’s still best to start the growing process now, so that spring and summer don’t get away from you.

When digging those first holes, just be careful about what you plant. The last frost date Philadelphia area’s Hardiness Zone is listed at April 24, but this is just an estimate. Know that frost IS still possible, so you should be careful of what you plant. Specifically, don’t plant tender annuals like tomatoes, peppers, basil, impatiens and petunias yet—even if those pallets of colorful impatiens lining the entrance to your favorite grocery store look positively tempting. If you give in and indulge in containers of those friendly little plants, you may be simply throwing your money away if temperatures dip and the plants are damaged.

Even if you avoid the more tender options, you should be prepared to protect anything that you have planted in case temperatures are forecasted to dip below 32 degrees at night for a late frost You can either bring container plants indoor, or cover in-ground plants with a bucket or some burlap.

We know you’re just dying to forget the long, cold winter we just endured with the help of a few friendly flowers and colorful plants, but in the long run, it really is best to be a tad bit cautious before you dive headfirst into this year’s planting season.

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