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The Blog: Let's Talk Gardening

Is it warm enough yet?

WE SAY IT'S GO TIME!

Do you find yourself asking, "is it warm enough yet to put my favorite spring plants outside"? We hear this question a lot this time of year and we know that means you are eager to get that garden going! Here’s a few tips to make sure you get the most from your garden this spring.

Annuals provide color from the time of planting into early fall. Inexpensive, easy-to-grow and gorgeous - annuals are great for changing the look of your garden from year-to-year and filling in around bulbs, perennials and trees & shrubs. A few early-blooming annuals that are safe to plant now include petunias, dusty miller, snapdragons, geraniums, million bells, dianthus and verbena.

However, some annuals can't handle frosts that occasionally occur in early spring. We suggest waiting to plant them outside until after the average last frost date. These include favorites like tropical hibiscus, mandevilla, coleus, gomphrena, portulaca, vinca and most veggies like peppers, cucumbers, squash, and eggplant. These plants thrive in the long, warm days of later spring.

AVERAGE LAST FROST DATES FOR HAMPTON ROADS:

• Virginia Beach & Norfolk: April 1
• Hampton & Chesapeake: April 10
• Newport News, lower York County and Poquoson: April 15
• Upper York Co. and Williamsburg: April 25

TIP: Hardening Off Helps
If your annuals are straight out of the greenhouse and tender, you may need to acclimate them to the outdoors in the sun and wind conditions, before you plant them in the garden. This process is called "hardening off". If you don't take the time to do this, your plants may be stressed when you transplant them into the ground.