Resist the urge to plant in your garden too early. Not only do you have to worry about night-time frost, you also have to ensure the soil temperature is warm enough to enable your tender seedlings to survive. By the second week in May, however, it is usually safe to plant seedlings in the ground in your garden.
You can bypass the general rule by planting early in raised beds and pots. This is a possibility because raised soil warms faster. If you do this you will have to use a frost protection fabric to block early morning April and May frosts.
Sometimes you can feel that the soil is obviously too cold, or you may need to buy an inexpensive garden soil thermometer. Each plant or seed has special temperature requirements for growth or germination. Be sure to plan your garden around those requirements.
In general, vegetables that can be planted now include lettuce, kale, spinach, onions, turnips, Swiss chard, Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and beets. Garden residents that will have to wait for the soil temperature to reach 70 degrees or above include warm weather vegetable transplants and seeds such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash and any melons.
You can of course get a head start on spring by beginning your seeds indoors or planting them in the ground then using plastic row covers to warm the earth and protect them from the frost. Sometimes some of this can be confusing with the large amount of information out there. As always if you have questions you can ask our specialists at Stockslagers about the correct time to plant your garden this year.