While snow is still coating parts of Iowa, many backyard gardeners are already getting the itch, now that we’re a week into Spring. While it’s too early to start full-fledged planting, extension educator John Fech says there are some hearty plants, like pansies or violas, that can withstand lingering, colder temperatures.
"These are blooming plants that are for sale now in garden centers or soon will be. These plants can really tolerate the temperatures that get into the 20s and even high teens at night," he explains. Fech says for those Iowans who simply can’t wait, they can start on some plants now — indoors.
"This is a great time to be starting some seeds indoors," Fech says, "Starting your peppers and tomatoes indoors under grow lights because you will be wanting to be planting them outdoors the first week of May or so and it takes about eight weeks to get those plants up and growing." For the Iowan who’s wishing for the greenest yard in the neighborhood, Fesh says you have a few weeks to wait before taking action.
Fesh says, "Once we get into mid-April, you can start doing some aeration and some reseeding of some areas that were a little bit thin, possibly some fertilization and pre-emergence towards the end of April." Fech says the lawns should be in good shape this year thanks to a heavy winter blanket of snow.