What to plant when the weather is so fickle

Spring is almost here- but most Americans will look out  their windows to just see snow. There is the old saying that tells gardeners to plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day or the first day of Spring. If there is snow and ice on the ground or the soil is still frozen, what is a gardener supposed to do?

Well, one can start planting seeds indoors (see here), which might be the best option. Since peas really need cool weather to grow, hopefully the snow will soon melt and your ground will thaw and as soon as that happens, you will be ready and able to plant the seeds outdoors or transplant the seedlings you started indoors to give the plants the coolness they need.

You can still watch to see when your forsythia starts blooming to know when to prune hybrid tea roses, floribunda roses, and grandiflora roses and to plant your cool-season crops in the vegetable garden. These include: spinach, lettuce, peas, carrots, chard, beets, and radishes. The forsythia knows when it is the right conditions for it to bloom.

But with climate change, the weather may not be following some of the farmers’ old adages. What can one do?

One can check on sites that predict the weather. One of the most reliable sources is The Old Farmer’s Almanac.  They are said to be about 80% correct.

Then there is the Farmer’s Almanac that claims they have been accurately predicting weather for close to 200 years for both the US and Canada.  They charge for their longer term forecasts.

One can check on government weather predicting sites like this one.

Then when the snow melts and the soil is workable but not too wet, one can try to see that your soil is properly prepared for optimum growing.

For example…

  • Work  compost into your soil.
  • Have mulch ready to put on top of your garden soil after planting.
  • Get rain barrels to collect rainfall to have water available if there is a drought later in the summer
  • Buy the hardiest plants for your gardens- don’t try to “push the envelope” by getting seeds and plants that are difficult to grow in your temperature zone. Read seed descriptions carefully to see if the companies feel the seed is truly hardy and that others in your area have had success with it.
  • If you are planting ornamentals, buy as many native plants as you can because these will be the hardiest. Native plants will please you and will please the fauna in your area.
  • Consider buying water crystals (also referred to as hydro gels, polymer crystals, or water gels) that prevent stress to plants both in times of drought and in times of excessive moisture. (see here)  They say it is never too late to apply them.
  • Get the newest equipment out there, if you can afford it, like drip hoses that save water and the newest apps that can be used in your gardens. (see here)

Gardeners have to learn to work with Mother Nature no matter what curve ball she will be throwing our way. Good luck.  Let TheGardenLady readers know what garden ideas you have used successfully to combat changes in the weather.

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