GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A mild March has meant people are out in the garden a little earlier than usual this year. But nursery owner Kenneth Stillwell says it’s still way too early to plant many summertime favorites.
“It’s still too early to put in a lot of your tomatoes and peppers, annual flowers and that kind of thing,” says Stillwell, who owns Carolina Seasons Nursery in Greenville. “You can still put in your cold season crops like broccoli and cabbage and cauliflower and kale.”
That’s because the average last spring frost in Greenville is around April 1st.
To be on the safe side, Stillwell suggests waiting until the second week of April to plant many vegetables and flowers. He’s tried to urge people to wait for a few more weeks, but if you’ve already jumped in and planted your garden, there are some things you can do to protect your plants from any lingering cold.
“The best thing they can do if a frost is predicted is cover with either reemay or tobacco cloth or a sheet or something like that,” says Stillwell. “Don’t use plastic.”
If you’re waiting, there’s plenty of prep work you can do to get your garden ready for planting.
“They need to get it tilled up, the soil worked up, see if they need to add any organic matter or lime,” says Stillwell. “If they need to improve the soil conditions, now’s a good time to be doing that so that when it is time to plant they’ll be ready.”
It’s also a good time of year to plant trees and shrubs before summer heat sets in.
Here’s a good guide on what to plant and when in the East: