Tip of the Week: Plant When Conditions are Right
|The bare root plants starting to show up now in warehouse and some hardware stores are common perennials we grow in Colorado – such as Echinacea, daisies, liatris and daylilies. Unfortunately for all of us who want to get outdoors and plant something, it’s at least a couple weeks too soon to plant perennials.
The first clue that it’s too early is if you are already growing some of these plants in your garden, you’ll see they are still dormant. In many places along the Front Range and at higher altitudes, especially, the soil can’t be worked yet.
Because perennials in the stores have been in cold storage all winter, they have been kept dormant. Bringing them inside the store where it’s warm forces them to break dormancy – and they will start to bud.
The emerging buds, flowers and new growth are likely to freeze if they are planted outdoors now. The record low temp in March was a shivering 5 degrees and the typical last frost of the year is usually around mid-May. Thus, any perennials that have broken dormancy are likely to suffer damage if planted outdoors now.
After planting outdoors, protect them just like you would protect annuals from frost or freeze damage whenever the forecast predicts frost or freezing temps.
If you have the urge to plant something, plant cool season veggie seeds such as carrots, lettuce, spinach and radishes. These seeds will sit quietly under the soil until the soil gets warm enough for seeds to germinate. Watch the soil between times of precipitation and if it gets dry, apply water to keep soil moist.
Be patient, growing days will soon be here!