To Plant, Or Not To Plant This Mother's Day Weekend? - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

To Plant, Or Not To Plant This Mother's Day Weekend?

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     Mother's Day weekend is a popular time for green thumbers to get out and get their hands dirty putting flowers or other plants into the ground. But the cold, wet spring and even talk of a possible frost in a couple of days isn't ideal. The question is: to plant, or not to plant?
     The 30 thousand square foot floor at Wallace's Garden Center in Bettendorf was full of people shopping for mom Friday. Planting flowers around Mother's Day is a tradition for many families, including Lisa Perales's.
      "Since I was little my dad has always bought her flowers for Mother's Day so she gets out and plants them," said Perales.
      It's the busiest weekend of the year for many garden centers but managers say this time around they're getting a lot more questions from customers.  "Everybody is a lot more worried about is it too cold to get this stuff outside yet. Can I plant it now?" said Kate Terrell, a manger at Wallace's Garden Center.
     The answer: it depends. First, on how cold and wet your soil is. "When we get this much rain this fast the ground is really hard to work. You can actually destroy your soil structure if you do too much digging," added Terrell.
     Dirt like what's in the plots at the Iowa State Extension Office of Scott County is considered borderline. However, some planters have been at work already with a variety of vegetables. Horticulturist Duane Gissel says gardeners should be cautiously optimistic about how mother nature will behave. "We're telling people don't push it because we still have not reached the average frost free date for the Quad Cities."  The frost freed date for this area is generally May 15th.
     Temperatures overnight in a couple of days are expected to get mid-thirties. A few degrees lower than that could be a problem. But some plants, like what Perales bought, can handle it better than others.
     "They're pretty hardy with what I buy. So I'm not too concerned," she said.
     Experts say when the weather is questionable it's a good idea to leave plants in the pots until the ground has a better chance to dry out and it gets a little warmer outside. If you're worried about frost, experts also recommend covering what's already planted or bringing potted flowers indoors overnight.

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