When to this, when to that??

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

So, here I am, approaching planting season, first timer here in this location, with numerous containers of wintersown plants some of which are about to bust out of their jugs -- and I would love some advice about when to actually set them out in the ground.

I had hoped our last (Ha!) freeze date was April 15 but I no longer believe that is true......... I was looking on weather.com where they have a kind of month in advance thingoo that gives previous years averages, record highs, and record lows. Heck, it could freeze in the end of June.

So........ But these plants in question are in fact wintersown, they have withstood freezes with only their little plastic lids a-flappin out there, purple tansy, CA poppy, perennial lupine, blue flax, verbascum, Rose Campion, black eyed susans, a wildflower mix, some baby's breath -- I think that's about it for the ones that seem to be champing at the bit, there may be a couple others. Well, sunflowers too, actually..... My herbs that have sprouted can wait just fine, and the greens are already planted out in containers and I've started second sowing them. But one thing is, I need the space!

So. Whadya think? I am thinking maybe plant these ones I listed out maybe as early as next weekend, if it is not bitter cold.....

In the Wintersowing forum some of the advice from a zone 5 person is to plant them out soon as you can. But that's the midwest in the suburbs, not the Wilds of North of Weed, LOL!

I have other timing questions also, but this one is the most pressing.

It looks like our last frost date in the fall is pretty clear but this spring thing is all over the place, zone, schmone.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

Spring is more dynamic than Fall, just like people in their 20's are all over the place while people in their 50's are more steady and mellow. In the mountains the dynamics are wider than elsewhere. The AVERAGE last frost date is just that, the day on which the last frost occurs before it HALF of the time. The other half of the time the last frost happens after the average date. Given a stastical range, a number like the 95th percentile +/- would be more useful. For tender plants like tomatos that do not deal with freezing well this gives a planting date with a low risk of loosing or damaging the plant. For cold hardy plants it isn't as much of a concern. Young plants aren't as hardy as mature plants, but we aren't likely to see the cold we do in January. In Albuquerque the average last frost date is April 17. The date given by the nurseries (without stating a probability percentage) is April 27. Basically people put their tomatos out the first weekend in May and only rarely loose any. Pansies get planted in March with no problems. If there is a late frost you can cover small tomatos to protect them.

Santa Fe, NM

For the flax and poppies and wild flowers I would do them soon. I say this because the flax that self sows is up, poppies up, tough little wild ones can take the cooler weather and they Like it! I would watch the wind and water, though, help them out if needed. I have some chard in a pot that has been out all winter! It doesn't look great, but there it is! Pansies self-sowed and came up in pots, as have cornflowers.

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Thank you both so much! This was my instinct but I needed the words of experience to back it up. Dparsons, I like the comparison to the ages, had not really put that one together before. Nice! ;-)

So that helps tremendously.

I do have kale and spinach and lettuce in containers out there! Taking the lettuce and one small pot of kale inside when it is supposed to freeze much, and covering the rest, but they are doin great. As for tomatoes, I just yesterday sowed the seeds of the nine varieties I have (didn't mean to have so many but oh well.) If I get one plant of each I will be pleased! They can sit in sunny windows til mid May and be fine. If I have to repot into larger containers (probably) they will be fine, but it is done! And more seeds later if for some reason these do not go.

Next question is, I have a bunch of nice Gladiola corms I ordered a while back, sitting in my fridge. They are going to be container grown also. I have a few 15 gallon pots and think I will assign one to the Glad garden. ;-) From what I read, they can be sown whenever the ground is safe from freezing at the depth of the corms. I am thinking end of April, beginning of May for this. Does that sound good?

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

I should think now. The odds of freezing the ground past the very top 1/4 inch is nil.

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

In a container, though? If it gets down into the low 20s -- as it is predicted this very night, my smaller containers can get rock solid! But of course a big black plastic nursery tub would be more protected.

Hmm. Thanks for the encouragement..... at least I can take it that end of month is not too early! Soonest I could get to it is probably next weekend though..... oh, and that is a better moon time for bulbs anyway, so.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

Sorry, didn't register on the containers.

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Well, I suppose I could always get the container set up and test it, let it freeze -- and see how deep t he freeze goes and how far from the sides..... I could do that today and let tonight be the test. Hmmmm.. May do that. Wouldn't be wasted effort at all because it will get used eventually one way or another.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

How are you going to measure the depth?

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Go out very early in the morning and stick something down in there and see if it hits frozen dirt, then measure the stick..... Do it in a few places.

Have to make sure the potting medium is well watered so it will freeze, if freezing is happening......

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

But it will be frozen on the outside and maybe not the inside.

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

True. hmm so I guess I would just dig down til I came to unfrozen soil, then. Still doable unless it is really really hard frozen which I doubt it would be. I was thinking about my wintersown jugs though, that seemed sometimes to have frozen soil deeper in but not so much on the surface.....

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

Perhaps that means the surface has thawed.

Reno, NV

I'm slowly picking my way thru this whole timing thing and the part that's keeping me sane is reminding myself that at very least it's a learning experiance.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

Its a lot easier if you don't expect perfect. Take your best shot, learn from what didn't work, have fun doing it.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Kyla try planting your glads in bunches a week apart. It extends your blooming time. Although the BIG BANG when they all bloom at once is nice too ^_^

Reno, NV

Good idea. I think if the weather isn't a killer this weekend I'll plant some flax, chard and a couple other. I may have to go buy some panseys. Need something more to bloom and I want it now=)

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

My swiss giant pansys have just germinated (pop pop pop) ^_^

Reno, NV

Oooo. Yay pansys. What do swiss giant pansys look like? Off to the plantfiles.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

They are perennials for me if I mulch them although the flowers are only 1/2 the size after the first year and they do peter out in a few years.

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Dahlia, good idea! I had not thought of that. Probably partly because I am starting from scratch and thinking in terms of skeleton, getting it all kind of built, in a funny kind of way, even though I am not landscaping with perennials cause don't own it here......

I have not done pansies yet but should. I am used to being able to buy them at the garden center, not a reality here. Hadn't even thought of pansies from seed, silly me! ;-) But now probably by the time they would get to bloom stage it already would be nearly too hot for them to thrive. Hard to imagine.....

Reno, NV

Bought my pretty pansies yesterday. Should be able to plant today. Also had spinch, lettuce, and elfin thyme jump into my cart.

Santa Fe, NM

Pansies and violas are tough little buggers! They can re-seed here given the right conditions, mainly enough water.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

Elfin thyme is gorgeous.

Carson City, NV(Zone 6b)

I got my lettuce that I started indoors planted out yesterday in various recycled protective structures (juice bottles and TV screens). How is it that my veggies are still poking along but the weeds think it's June already?

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

Weeds go with the "firstest with the mostest" approach to grabbing space, just like marketers.

Reno, NV

Lol. Too true. Looks like it might actualy start looking like spring around here. We're supposed to get rain but 50s in the day and only 30s for lows. W00T!

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

Its April. I'd be glad for it to behave like a typical April.

Reno, NV

Me too. Loved it yesterday. Sat out on the patio just sokeing up the sun and eatting strawberries. Yum

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Oh I thought this was a typical April. Not?

Found a stray iris, it had sent its spears up through the gravel in the oddest place, I have no idea how it got there, I mean, by any human agency as there is no one around here who has planted iris, well, but me but I am certain this is a different kind and that I did not lose one of the few I planted last fall and if I did no way it could have worked itself down under that gravel about four inches! Way away from any gardening activities........... But I was able to dig the little thing up and it is now in a pot. that was kinda fun.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Spawn of Satan maybe Kyla?

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Oh, possible! I kind of hope it was the Iris fairy, though, or perhaps she enchanted the SoS into doing the task..... It had to have been there for a while though, as it was under this gravel like I said, so, I feel kind of honored that it decided to show itself just now...... so I could rescue it. ;-)

Santa Fe, NM

Finally, a very pleasant day here! Cold in the morning but got up in the mid 50's without wind this afternoon. There's no such thing as a spawn of satan iris! Or did you mean a spawn of satan varmint might've planted it? This sweet, innocent little prairie dog would never do anything that wasn't cute and adorable! Right?

Thumbnail by roybird
Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Oh right of course not! Roybird, I am sure we meant, SoS planted the iris, but perhaps I should name it Spawn of Satan, and just change the whole karma of the situation!

lovely sweet picture. Probably a dastardly critter in the garden though, I don't tink we have those, but I still don't know who is digging up under that gravel!!!!!! Another mound today, closer to the garden, oh, uh-oh.........

I'm glad you had a good weather day, that is bound to be good for the spirit after all this other thing going on!

Santa Fe, NM

That guy is a Gunnison's prairie dog and he and his/her relatives are an endangered species because people keep taking their villages away to build big box stores. Or whatever. They are a nice food for coyotes, too. They came out of their holes maybe 2 weeks ago and they are feeling pretty chipper! There are people who feed them. They apparently eat dried corn and fresh vegetables. I like them but I don't quite venerate them the way some of my friends do!

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

I was watching Prairie dogs out and about on my way home today.

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

they are very cute critters

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

Yes they are. I wish we could deal with them in open areas of the city by giving them a plague and rabies vaccination or something. Seems the main reason for relocating them.

Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Dang. It is sleeting/snowing out there. Predicted temps tonight hover just above, just below freezing...... I pulled everyone up close by to the house but I don't think I am going to cover stuff tonight, they gotta grow up sometime, LOL!

But tomorrow and Saturday I do need to start planting out, those glads, some of the wildflowers....... and then Monday it is another predicted plunge.

Nobody can tell me what to do, I know. Well, you can, but nobody knows what's the best way here, I reckon. Just saying, is all.

Santa Fe, NM

We are going down to 30 tonight but I'm so tired of covering things I'm letting them rough it . I just hope it doesn't go lower. we are supposed to have snow Saturday, though. I will probably be covering things then. Of course, our plums are now starting to bloom.

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