To plant or not to plant, that’s the question! This is getting aggravating. Each day that passes with blue skies and mild afternoons make me think I’m wasting an opportunity to get a head start on the growing season. I’m mainly thinking of tomato plants here.
I’ve always known you should wait until at least the first week of May to put the plants in the ground. The primary reason is the strong possibility for a killing freeze but it’s also counterproductive because the ground is still cold ( even on these warm sunny April days ) so the plants will just sit there in a semi dormant state until the soil is warm during the night time hours which means they won’t grow anyway until May.
That was my thinking until Dean moved to Kansas City. He was our morning executive producer a few years back and had a passion for tomatoes cutting his teeth in the soils of Texas where plants go in the ground while we’re still shoveling snow. It just so happened we had a mild Spring with warm weather settling in during the final weeks of March. Dean, without thinking or checking with me, planted a bunch of tomatoes …in March! I teased him a little and told him they’d never make it, and even if they did he wouldn’t pick one until at least the end of July. Well, ……………. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Dean was carving tomato slices in his salad by the 4th of July while I sat and watched my tiny green tomatoes grow from tiny marble size to barely golf-ball size that first week of July. Ever since then I wanted to try it, but the past few springs haven’t allowed it.
This spring is different. This stretch of mild weather will last at least through NEXT weekend. The 384 hr. GFS shows above freezing temperatures through April 30 so I’m tempted more than ever to give it a shot. I haven’t checked out the garden shops yet but if I happen by one and see a few plants I just might put a few on the south ( sunny ) side of my house to see if I can harvest a treat in early July. By the way, Dean now lives near San Antonio, TX. He probably has tomatoes the size of baseballs with a few beginning to turn pink already. Looks like I’ll never beat Dean even in my best year!