Are We There Yet?

Are we ready to plant transplants this start-stop spring? By the calendar, for sure. This is a view of our flower plants that will grow outdoors soon.

 In this USDA Hardiness 4-5a region, the air temperatures have been in the low 70’s F. most days. Still, the soil temperatures are lagging as expected. The transition to outdoor conditions is a plant stressor. We put plants outdoors to get them used to the weather before planting. The local nursery hardens some plants for us. We also check the soil temperature so plants are ready to grow as we set them out.

Various flower and vegetable seedlings have minimum soil temperatures at which they will begin to grow. The temperature was measured 4 inches deep in a full-sun raised bed of clay/loam. Soil temperature varies with the type of soil and sun exposure. At 60 degrees F., we delay planting peppers, cucumbers, and cantaloupe in the vegetable garden until the soil warms to 65 degrees F. Time for soil preparation and weeding until then.

Some native plants grow easily from seeds at home under light. Purple Coneflower or Echinacea purpurea is an example. The seedlings will establish and often bloom years after the first season.

‘Indian Summer’ Rudbeckia hirta also grows easily at home under a light. The black-eyed Susan has a yellow bloom with a black center that blooms the first year and a year or two as a short-loved perennial.

‘Arizona Sun’ Gaillardia grandiflora, or blanket flower is a 2005 All America Selections plant that also grows easily at home as a transplant and will often bloom the first year as a short-lived perennial. 

Happy gardening! Thanks for your visit.

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