Experts predict delay in spring planting season

By Heather Sawaski, Local 5 News

Published 02/27 2014 05:10PM

Updated 02/27 2014 10:26PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - Mounds of snow and subzero temperatures. Winter does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

"The good news is the snow is a good insulator," explained Melinda Myers, a gardening expert. "The bad news is it's going to slow the start of the season."

Even though plants don't typically go into the ground until May, Myers said some problems stemming from our harsh winter run deep. In order for plants to thrive, soil temperatures need to be at least 50 degrees. She said frost levels and frigid air could set gardeners back at least two weeks.

"When we jump start, the soil is cool," she said. "Plants are stunted and don't grow so that's why calendars are a guideline, but really, the air and soil temperatures dictate when you should be planting flowers, vegetables and things out in the yard."

At Schroeder's Flowers, prep work has been well underway for months.

"When the poinsettias disappear, we put this new crop of spring color out," said Brian Schroeder.

A lot of their plants were grown right at the store and kept in a temperature-controlled area. Schroeder said a lot of this work started right around Christmas."

In one of a handful of greenhouses, impatiens and petunias are taking shape. Schroeder said most of the starts come in from across the country and are fine to grow inside until the ground is ready.

"It might take a while for that to happen, but we have all of April to warm up," explained Schroeder. "If we get a decent April, we could be fine. But March is going to be chilly I think."

"Let's hope things warm up that quickly," added Myers.

Myers said soil is ready to plant in when it's moist,  not soggy and wet. She also recommends investing in a soil thermometer to track the temperature.

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