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Can I plant my tomatoes and peppers?

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With this nice weather it is hard not wanting to get out and get all the yard and garden work done. I, too, want to get my annual flowers and potted vegetables planted in the ground. It is still a bit too early; the end of May to the first week of June is more ideal time for those tender plants. In the meantime, make sure to get gardens, flower beds, and raised beds ready; start by cleaning out all of last year’s plants and amending the soil.

I was told one time “that if it was nice enough to go outside with no clothes on, it was nice enough to plant your garden.” I am NOT advising that; I do not believe that was very good advice. North Dakota’s last frost date is around the middle of May and that really is just a guideline.

When the soil temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 16 Celsius, closer to the end of May, it is best to plant tomatoes and peppers. It is not, however, too early to plant potatoes. Many people already have them in, but if you do not, no worries, plant them now. Onions, beets, carrots, and lettuce may also be planted now.

Most seeds can also be safely planted; however, it is important to read the back of the seed pack – it will have information regarding planting time, depth, and time until harvest. For some seeds, you should still wait until the soil warms a little more, closer to that 60-degree Fahrenheit temp. You can check the soil temperature in your area by visiting ndawn.ndsu.nodak.edu/. If the soil temperature is still in the 50s, it may be too cold for many seeds — they may not germinate; even if they do, growth could be permanently affected. In addition, seedlings and other tender plants may be stunted if the soil is too cold when planting.

Good advice is to wait until June 1 to plant all seedlings and finishing planting the rest of your seeds. I know it is hard, but be patient. If you are a new gardener in the area, this is very important. Our weather can be very confusing – beautiful, warm days with mild temperatures at night, and then Mother Nature takes a turn with frost and cold temperatures and all of your hard work turns brown and wilts before your eyes. Just hold off for another week or so and your patience will be rewarded.

Happy Gardening!

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