With temperatures climbing, it's tempting to plant everything -- but hold your horses.
Day temperatures are irrelevant. Night temperatures are what count. Unless it stays reliably above 50 degrees at night, it's risky to plant tropical flowers and vegetables.
Go ahead and plant some petunias and verbenas but be very cautious about planting the heat-loving summer plants. This is the weather for cool-season crops and flowers. It is too early to set out crops such as tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, melons, beans and basil.
It's also too early for coleus, impatiens, sweet potato vine begonias, dahlias and begonias. Just because a plant is available at a nursery, it doesn't mean that it can take a chilly night. it may not die outright but it may stunt and fail to thrive.
In the meantime, do some transplanting and dividing. If you want to move any perennials, it's now or never. Move them before it gets too hot so they can settle in.
To move and divide a perennial, dig it up. If you're dividing it, cut the root ball in half with a serrated knife; plant the pieces. Water them in well.
Many perennials are easy to divide and transplant. These include daylilies, ornamental grasses, bee balm, hostas, tall phlox, asters and mums. Perennials with a single main stem or a single main taproot are not candidates for division. These include lavender, mallows and globe thistle.
Moving young plants is also a breeze right now. Seedlings of bumblebee daisy (Rudbeckia triloba) are being relocated in my borders. This biennial plant (it has a two-year life cycle) is a highlight of my garden in late summer and fall. Since it grows 3 to 4 feet tall, seedlings towards the front of the borders are being moved towards the back.
Many other "volunteer" seedlings of perennials -- such as coneflower, meadow sage and meadow rue can safely be moved to new locations now.
There's plenty to do in the garden right now. Get it done and think about tomatoes in another three weeks.
© 2017 KUSA-TV