March Madness: It's a Heat Wave!
This weather has been crazy over the past few weeks. The temperatures that we have been experiencing are more in line with early May instead of early March. At this time last year we were still experiencing periodic snow flurries! However, are we out of the woods yet as far as the possibility of winter weather? My gut says no, but I wanted to get input from a professional.
Earlier today I contacted WSAZ's Josh Fitzpatrick, a Gallipolis, OH native, to see what his thoughts were on this late winter heat wave. Basically, we have a 50/50 shot at another really cold snap before all is said and done this winter, and a much high chance of seeing more frost.
"Well all we have to do is look back to 2007. March was very warm, many days in the 60s, 70s, 80s. Then fast forward to April and we had a killing freeze in the middle of the month. Many fruit trees were damaged and didn't produce much. I remember in late May of 2002 we had a few frost morning's. Bottom line, we still have the risk for frost through early May this year."-Josh Fitzpatrick, WSAZ
We are not out of the woods yet when it comes to winter weather, and unfortunately that may be quite harmful at this point. Many fruit and nut trees have begun to bloom, and a freeze now could cause quite a bit of damage. It could even hurt the hunting season this fall if there is a widespread shortage of woodland nuts, like acorns, that deer and many other forest dwellers rely on.
Over the past few weeks my inbox has been stuffed with emails wanting to know when we are going to start stocking our markets with bedding plants and vegetables. Other retailers in the area may have tomato plants, impatiens, and other warm weather crops for sale, but trust us, now is not the time for planting those outside. The soil is still too cold for warm weather crops to do well, and the chance of another frost or hard freeze is just too high.
I know you may want to get outside and start planting, and it is even harder for us to say now is not the time! However, we want you to be a successful gardener, and a key part of being a successful gardener is timing. It might be tough, but a little patience now will pay off greatly later this summer. There's still plenty to do! Now is the perfect time to plan, get your soil ready, and clean and sharpen garden tools.