It's April - Is it Safe to Plant?


Planting season is just around the corner!  In Zone 6, the rule of thumb is it's safe to plant after Mother's Day, but if spring fever has set in, you can begin to plant a few gems right now. Read more for suggestions on early spring planting in Zone 6.

Vegetables to plant in early spring:

  • Asparagus
  • Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Onion
  • Radishes
  • Peppers, tomatoes, eggplant (If properly protected.)

Flowering Annuals that can be planting in early spring:
Frost Tolerant:
  Annuals that can withstand light frosts and can normally be planted before average frost-free date.  Some damage to flowers and foliage can occur if temperatures fall much below freezing or if exposed to hard frosts.

  • Alyssum
  • Snapdragon
  • Calendula
  • Lobelia
  • Phlox
  • Cosmos
  • Torenia
  • Nasturtium

Freeze Tolerant:  Annuals that can withstand freezing temperatures and hard frosts for short periods with little or no injury.

  • Argyranthemum
  • Dracaena (Spikes)
  • Sweet Peas
  • Viola
  • Nemesia
  • Brachycombe
  • Dusty Miller
  • Osteospermum
  • Verbena
  • Foxglove
  • Calibrachoa
  • Petunia
  • Pansy
  • Dianthus
  • Gazania

Can I plant perennials?
It is generally safe to plant fruit trees, fruiting plants, trees, shrubs, and perennials.  If they are flowering or have tender growth they may need to be covered if frost or freezing is in the forecast.

What to do if it gets really cold?
If you have plants in hanging baskets or other containers, bring them inside. Covers can be used to limit frost injury (see below).  However, protection for temperatures below 25 degrees Fahrenheit may not be possible.

You may have noticed that plants placed under the leaf canopy of a large tree or a building overhang escape serious freeze damage, while those out in the open are killed.  These covers contain the earth’s heat.  On a cold night with air temperatures in the twenties, the earth’s surface at 52 degrees is like a giant heater.  Wet soil transfers heat better than dry soil.  Old sheets, blankets and light rugs placed over the plants may limit cold injury to annual flowers.  Leaving air spaces between plants and covers increases insulation.  Heavy materials that might damage the plants should be avoided.  Also, avoid plastic.  Plastic will transfer the cold to the plant and provides little insulating value.