Is it Always Safe to Plant Your Garden After Mid-May?


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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Spring is here and for some, it's time to plant. Or is it? Before you put those plants, and your money, in the ground, there are a few things you might want to know.

In the Shenandoah Valley most gardeners will tell you to wait until at least May 15t before you put your plants in the ground, but is that date always foolproof?

Master gardener Robyn Puffenbarger said not always, "What you really want is 60s, 70s during the day, high 40s mid-50s at night, and you're good to go. But if you see any sign of 30s, give it another 10 days."

The warm overnight temperatures have helped lately, but for many plants, it's not time for them to be in the ground just yet.

You'll risk losing your plants if you put them in the ground too early. One of the best ways to gauge when it's time to plant, is not always by the air temperature, but by the soil temperature.

"A soil thermometer is one of the cheapest and most accurate tools," explained Puffenbarger.

A perfect investment for any professional, or amateur gardener.

If you really want to play it safe, "You'd be just as well off to wait until Memorial Day Weekend or even the first of June," said Puffenbarger.

It doesn't hurt to be patient and wait another week.

The record for the last frost date in Rockingham County is June 9, back in 1912. For West Virginia and some of the higher elevations, you'll want to wait until at least the end of May, and into the beginning of June to avoid losing your plants.


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