Early Spring

upstatebhhMarch 19, 2012

This will be my second year gardening and we are having an incredibly early Spring here. The ground was still frozen this time last year and I measured soil at over 50 degrees this past weekend. May 15th is the normal time to transplant everything outdoors in my area but I'm curious if people cheat this forward a few weeks or so during very mild springs like we are having this year. The problems I have is that the garden is at a weekend cottage so we are not able to cloche or protect plants if there is an unexpected frost.

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molie(z6 CT)

We've had such a crazy winter and it makes me wonder what kind of spring we will have so I hate to give you advice. I live along the southern CT coast and am definitely waiting a bit.

What's your zone and I wonder what is it that you want to transplant? Are they things you've started from seed?

Molie

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 5:05PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

What is 'everything'? If you are talking about tender annuals like tomatoes, I wouldn't touch them until the normal last frost date is in the ten-day weather forecast.

Though I do kind of wonder about that 'May 15th' bit. Are you coastal? Our last frost date is end of May, and we have had frosts in June. I'd actually say that given how the 'winter' has gone, a June frost may be an inevitability this year.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 5:23PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

I don't think the weather today or the weather last week or last month is predictive. If May 15th is your set out date, then it's May 15th. If you get to May 10th and the Weather guessers tell you that no frost temps are in sight, then I might decide to set out some things at that point. The pattern that has given us this non-winter and summer like early Spring temperatures can change at any time.

Steve

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 5:35PM
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upstatebhh

Thanks for the responses. Interesting to see that people respect that date regardless of how the season is playing out. I am Zone 5b, Hudson Valley area of NY, about 45 min south of Albany. Yea, I was referring to veggies like tomatoes, etc. I started a "test" batch of tomatoes indoors under lights this year in late Feb with the plan to work out any bugs and then start the "real" batch in the normal 6-8 week range which is coming up. The "test" batch is doing so well though I am considering potting these up a second time and giving them a go instead of the later batch. Getting them in the ground in early May would make that a lot more viable.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 5:51PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

MAY 30TH !!!!!!!

You are NORTH of me.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 5:55PM
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upstatebhh

Seriously! This is what I was looking at. Is it wrong?
http://letsgrowveggies.com/new_york/12477/frost_dates

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 6:04PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Talk to the Ulster County Master Gardeners. They are going to want to know rather specifically where you are, since everything is going to change depending on altitude and how far you are from the river. IF you are *in* Saugerties, you may be able to get away with May 15th. Maybe. The river doesn't heat up quickly, so it skews the frost dates. North or west, May 30th is safe, and it wouldn't surprise me if Palenville was even later than that. I've seen snow at Platteclove in May.

BTW, I'm across the river near Tivoli.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 8:09PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

If you want to cheat the season on a few plants by two weeks, get a couple of wall-o-waters and plant a couple of your plants in those. If they are too tall, lay the stem sideways in the planting hole (for tomatoes) to make them shorter. I wouldn't do this if you only had a few plants, but I'm all for pushing to get those veggies earlier.

Here's a chart on seed germination temperatures and how that effects speed of germination so you have an idea of what can be planted at what temperatures. Also, be sure that what you direct plant early and without protection are either plants that you don't mind losing if there's a late snowfall or ones that will tolerate a colder snap if they have germinated like peas or spinach.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 7:36AM
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upstatebhh

Mad Gallica, you freaked me out because the property is just outside of Palenville! Too weird. Thank you everyone for the advise. I believe what I am going to do is go ahead and start the second batch indoors under grow lights here in the next week or so and then just roll the dice in early May with the first ones and hope I get lucky. If not, I'll have the second batch as backup. I have a cold frame and several glass cloches (large vases from Ikea) but no way to vent them if it gets too hot during the week so I may just use the early batch to experiment with those devices to see if they burn up the plants and/or try the wall-of-waters. Weekend only gardening is a tough challenge! I am in the process of installing soaker hoses on a timer to help with incremental watering during the week so we don't drain the well every weekend trying to water the garden. There was so much rain last year it wasn't much of a problem but something tells me this is going to be a hot, dry summer.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:10AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Lots of trail races are in the North Lake/Palenville area so it's a place I get to a fair amount during the summer. Do you have soil? A lot of places around there are just rock, and barely anything grows. It also has a short growing season compared to us close to sea level. The views can be amazing, though. I've seen Olana from there.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 5:29PM
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upstatebhh

We are near the bottom of the mountain before you head up towards Tannersville so our weather tends to be much closer to Saugerties than Tannersville or Hunter. You are right however that it is a completely different climate up the mountain though. We are lucky that the owner of the house (we rent it) brought in a few truckloads of topsoil and compost when they created the garden so we pretty much just have to amend it a bit. It was already fenced in and pretty well established so it made it easy for us to dip our toes into it last year and we had some success (by luck) and lots of fun so we are taking it a bit more serious this year. We're hooked!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 6:35PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Oops - didn't include the link. Here it is.

Here is a link that might be useful: seed germination temperature & time

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 9:47PM
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pixie_lou

This question seems to come up every year. We get some unseasonably warm weather in March or April and people want to go plant their tomatoes. But as Steve Mass mentioned - past weather is no predictor of future weather. Remember that October snowstorm - and we all went out and bought new shovels and an extra ton of ice melt and got our snow blowers tuned up - all to sit unused in our garage.

As much as I would love to plant some tomatoes right now, I see the 10 day forecast has night time temperatures near freezing early next week. And I also have to agree with mad gallica - with the way this weather has gone, I'm almost expecting a June snow storm this year!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:28AM
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