Has Spring Sprung?

by Ann Barnes

This is a friendly reminder that the average last frost date in Durham County is April 13. Although we have had a stretch of warm days and nights lately, warm weather is not necessarily here to stay. Summer annual flowers and vegetables should not be planted outside until after the last frost date, since they are likely to be damaged or killed should a hard frost occur. Some 5-day forecasts are calling for low temperatures in the near future, so keep those tomatoes and melons inside or in a protected place for a while longer.

Not sure when to start seeds or plant transplants? Please follow the link below for a wonderful guide to planting.

http://content.ces.ncsu.edu/central-north-carolina-planting-calendar-for-annual-vegetables-fruits-and-herbs

So, what can be done if your tender annual plants are already in the ground? First, start watching weather forecasts. If the forecast low temperature is 32° or less, consider covering plants with landscape fabric, old sheets/blankets, cardboard boxes or overturned flower pots. Be sure to remove covers once temperatures warm up in the morning. Cool season plants such as greens and carrots are generally safe even if temperatures drop into the high 20s.

Plants protected by floating row covers  Photo: Ann Barnes

Plants protected by floating row covers
Photo: Ann Barnes

For more information on cold weather and protecting your garden and landscapes, see:

https://chatham.ces.ncsu.edu/2015/03/protect-tender-plants-saturday-night/ (article from 2015)

https://pender.ces.ncsu.edu/2014/01/protecting-garden-and-landscape-plants-during-cold-weather/

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