For those who are willing to put in the extra work to protect tender seedlings from frost and freezes, we will order tomatoes in just as soon as the growers offer them to us. Expect other cool season crops (broccoli, cabbage, etc) and fresh onion sets in mid-January, and the ever-popular seed potatoes in late January.
All that said, the brave souls who wish to set out tomato plants in February must know that they are taking a gamble. These gardeners are just chomping at the bit, physically unable to wait until the safety of late spring to relish fresh home grown veggies. Who can blame them?
For those who suffer spring fever fits in the dead of winter, we recommend planning your spring garden. Make a list of veggie your must-haves and new things to try. Draw out the garden area on paper, then designate areas according to plant spacing, desired output, and available space. Take inventory of old seeds, do a little research on varieties (remember that stores like ours only offer varieties that do well in our area, so don't get your heart set on a Northern variety!). Think about problems encountered with previous years' gardens and how those problems might be prevented. Take the time to analyze your soil (talk to the Extension office about running a soil sample) so that you can enrich the soil and prepare the beds weeks in advance of planting. You do all of this now, so on that perfectly crisp, sunny early April Saturday when you just can't wait to get some dirt on your hands, you can snap up all the cute little green plants and promising little seeds that your heart desires... and bring them home to a well prepared and planned haven of a garden to thrive in.
'Til next time...