Busy weekend for nurseries: What you need to know before you begin to plant your garden

Busy planting weekend for Colorado
Posted at 2:29 PM, May 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-14 19:59:01-04

DENVER – Many in Colorado believe we should wait until Mother’s Day to plant because there’s supposed to be less risk of frost.

Denver7 spoke with Garden Patch owner Andrea Ayers, who said that isn’t an adage she follows, “I’ve never believed that. The past two years, we’ve had snows near Mother’s Day. We have hail after. We still have really chilly evenings.”

She added, “The old-timers will tell you, you wait 'til Memorial Day.”

Her shop was busy on Mother’s Day, though.

“Part of me wanted to start plants earlier,” Garden Patch customer Ryan Tanner said.

He and his family started their first Colorado garden on Mother’s Day weekend with some help from their neighbor.

“He said wait ‘til after Mother’s Day. So, that’s why we’re out shopping today,” Tanner said.

With a box of plants in his hands, he admitted to Denver7, “We’re just going to risk it with these plants and hope that they don’t get hailed on.”

“As long as they watch the weather and they’re aware of when they have to cover things up, they should be okay,” Ayers said.

For some of your more delicate plants, like impatiens or basil, Ayers advised gardeners to have something nearby to cover your garden.

“Run out and just throw a big nursery container over the tops of the plants until the hail is passed.”

She said others have something built that would allow a tarp to be rolled over the garden to combat inclement weather.

“Some plants are really resilient. Even if they get completely shredded, there is a chance that they'll just spring back up from their roots,” Ayers said. “Wait a week. See if they’re going to come back before you pull them out and replace them.”

Ayers said a lot of people are probably planting their tomatoes and peppers this weekend, but said she would save those plants until after Memorial Day, “because they don’t like chilly overnight temperatures.”

Ayers said you should also keep watch over smaller herbs, “I would worry about those. If we get hail, they have no chance.”

She added, “Something with a good root system would probably be okay.”

If you’re looking for more durable and hearty plants, Ayers suggested geraniums.

“Little hailstorm goes through, those are going to do a lot better than maybe some petunias that are all a little bit more delicate,” Ayers advised. “Most of them will weather it pretty well because they have good roots established.”

With rain in the forecast, Ayers said it’s a good time for gardeners to remember they should be planting in damp soil.

“You don’t want to plant in really wet soil, because you kind of compact it,” Ayers said.

Another piece of advice for newer residents: “The sun here is unlike sun anywhere else you’ve probably lived. We’re a mile closer, our atmosphere is very thin.”

Ayers added, “You cannot rely on the tags on the plant. Those tags are used all over the country.”

So, she offered this reminder, “Some plants that read ‘full sun,’ doesn’t not directly apply to Denver.”