Spring in the UK has always been unpredictable and always will be. It’s warm, it’s cold, it in between. It’s difficult to know when to start certain activities and it can catch us all out.
The daily temperatures affect air & soil. Air temperatures fluctuate rapidly but soil temperatures respond slowly as the average daily temperatures improve.
Air temperatures can be warm during the day and fool us into thinking summer is here only to be followed by frosts at night. This is the case in April 2019.
Rain in spring can tend to keep soil temperatures low and cold wet soils can damage more tender plants even if the average night time temperatures are warm enough.
Follow our grandparents advice : “Ne’re give a clout until May is out”.
Your body is a great guide!
A clout stands for clothing apparently and that’s a great way to judge when tender plants can be planted. If you need a few layers to keep warm, such as coats, jumpers, scarves and even hats and gloves. IT’S TOO COLD TO PLANT TENDER PLANTS.
The end of May is the gardeners excepted time when it much less likely that we will experience LATE FROSTS that do so much damage.
The most common plant requests in cold sunny weather that shouldn’t be planted outside until the end of May
- Tomato plants
- Summer bedding : including Lobelia, Petunias, Geraniums & Begonias
- Runner Beans
If you’r not sure – please ask.
You should be able to garden with all the hardy spring plants available now. Primroses, potted bulbs & all the late winter / early spring shrubs can be planted now. Cheer your self up with some early flowering shrubs.
You can sowing if you have a a warm place to start them off but more important is a warm place to grow them on to bigger plants afterwards. If not hold back until as late as possible because late sown summer plants will race past early sown plants that get too cold, too wet, or too dark.
One last thought : you will see these tender plants being sold in many non-specialists shops when it’s too cold. Unless you have a heated greenhouse or conservatory don’t be tempted. Planting fresh plants at the correct time will ensure much greater success.