Springtime planting offers plenty of opportunities to add both dimension and life to your home's landscape. The warmer weather of spring requires a cautious approach to planting new ornamentals, flowers and vegetables. Most climates still experience some frost during spring and require careful planning to provide protection for tender plants.
The extreme cold of winter penetrates deeply into soil layers. This process sometimes causes freezing and shifting of the soil layers. Soil will naturally correct this process over the spring months with incremental increases in temperature. Tender plants cannot tolerate early planting in cool soil. Annual flowers and plants require soil temperatures above 60 degrees Fahrenheit for best growing results. Waiting a few extra weeks for the sun to warm the soil benefits plants and provides a more optimum growing environment for heat-loving plants.
Last Frost Date
Springtime brings daffodils, tulips and the new growth of many perennials. These plants are fundamentally designed to tolerate the cooler temperatures of spring. The majority of the flowers added in the landscape represent the family of annual plants. Very few annuals tolerate exposure to any frost at all. Pay close attention to the weather since forecasters typically broadcast information about potential damaging frosts for farmers and gardeners. If you want to plant annuals in the early springtime, keep newspaper and sheets ready to protect these tender plants from frost. To completely protect your gardening investment, research the last frost date in your area and add one week to this date for caution.
Springtime represents one of the best times to plant and care for perennials. Perennial plants return each year and often increase in size each growing season. Springtime offers cool soil and moderate daytime temperatures to allow easily acclimation of new plants to the soil. Remember that perennial foliage dies off in the fall and these plants go to sleep for the winter. This tolerance to the cold also benefits homeowners who want to add perennials during springtime planting. Choose perennials based on interesting foliage as well as light requirements of the planting area. Focus on choosing plants suitable for a location and remember that most perennials only bloom for a few weeks during the growing season.
Springtime planting for warm season vegetables like tomatoes and cucumbers needs to wait until soil and air temperatures increase enough to support the plant. Gardeners can start seeds indoors for warm season vegetables and should allow six weeks for seedling plants to mature before transferring them to the garden. The cooler temperatures of spring do benefit gardeners who want plant leaf lettuce, radishes, spinach and turnips. These plants tolerate frost and exposure to cool soils.
Planting from seeds requires careful examination of the growing requirements for each type of vegetable or flowering plant. Some hardy seeds such as pansy or snapdragon can handle exposure to cool soil and can be placed directly into the garden. If you desire a perennial garden, consider planting seeds directly into the garden in later summer. Perennial seeds require 12 weeks to germinate and the plants will appear the following spring.