These are general gardening tips, please use your intuition when deciding what the plant and when! For information on when spring is, see this previous blog post: When Is Spring?
Very Early Spring. When the ground is workable, it is no longer frozen or too wet. You can plant:
- Trees as long as they are dormant.
- Bareroot perennials that are dormant.
- Some cold hardy vegetable seed can be sown like spinach and peas.
- You can also sow seeds for poppies and sweet peas.
Early Spring. 2-3 weeks before the last frost. You can begin planting:
- Potted perennials as long as they have been outside for the winter, or in a coldframe. It is not suitable yet to plant perennials that have been in a greenhouse.
- Trees and shrubs that are dormant or leafed out, can be planted as long as they have been acclimated to sitting outdoors during the winter.
- Many cold hardy vegetable starts or seeds can be sown or planted at this time like cole plants, carrots, radish, and spring onions.
Spring. After threat of frost has passed. At this time you should be safe to plant about anything including the tender vegetables. Of course, there is still the possibility of frost or freeze, so keep materials on hand in case there is a threat.
Every gardener should have horitcultural fleece on hand. When using this, it must touch the ground to retain the heat from the ground. It doesn’t necessarily act as a physical barrier to frost, it’s an insulator and needs a heat source (the earth).
If you really need to protect a plant, you can double the horticultural fleece for extra thermal protection. You can even run a strand of incandescent Christmas lights inside the dome to heat it up! Be sure to use something to hold the fleece down and close all gaps or it will not work. Don’t allow the sheeting to touch the plant if possible.
You can use bed sheets, but it will not work as well. Do not use plastic.
I also keep some plastic cloches around as well. They are good for small transplants especially in the vegetable garden. They are also nice to use for tomato and pepper transplants. Nights can still be cool and the cloches will keep them warmer at night. This way you can put them in the ground a little earlier.