After several warm days and moderate nights, we had a weekend of cooler weather that included a drop down below 30 degrees F.
Some years, such as in 2011, 2012, and 2013, our last frost has occurred before the end of March, and it is possible that the warm weather forecast for the upcoming week will seduce gardeners who remember those warm years into setting out tender transplants, like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and tomatillos.
For all those gardeners, I would just like to offer the reminder that last year, the last frost for this area was on April 16. That dip to 30 degrees F (as measured at UGA’s automated weather station in Dallas, GA; in Alpharetta it was 28 degrees F) was preceded by a couple of weeks of warm, spring weather.
All the local gardeners who decide to set out tender transplants before mid-April should keep in mind that those plants may need some frost-protection on one or more days. Notice how I didn’t say, “Don’t do it!”
That’s because, in all honesty, I will be one of those gardeners who just can’t wait.
It is closer to “safe,” though, to begin planting seeds of some crops, especially if they are set into furrows that offer a little shelter from breezes and cool nights. Seeds that I consider “safe to plant this week” include corn and beans. Cucumbers, melons, and squashes will follow the next week. Okra germinates more reliably in warmer soils, so planting time for those seeds will be closer to the end of April.
Soil temperatures currently are in the mid-50s (degrees F), which means that seeds for some summer crops are going to germinate more slowly than we might prefer. While we wait, we can enjoy the always-amazing unfolding of spring.