Nursery gives green light for gardening Mother's Day weekend

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LAYTON -- Wacky spring weather has Utahns scratching their heads, wondering if now is the time to plant. Mother's Day is the rule for planting, because usually by then the weather is usually on our side. Gardeners say even with the cooler temperatures it's a green light for gardening this weekend.

Salt Lake City Climate
  • Average Date in Spring of Last Freeze: April 30
  • Earliest Date in Spring: Mar. 11, 1992
  • Latest Date in Spring: May 28, 1954
  • 2010 So Far: May 7
Source: KSL Weather

Michael Brown is anxious to get her garden ready. She's planting tomatoes, pumpkins, watermelons and peppers this weekend, but with a few reservations.

"We've had (our tomatoes) freeze before and we'll have to make sure we keep our eye on them," says Brown.

If you're like Brown and itching to get out in the garden this weekend, Jerry Stevenson, owner of J & J Garden Center in Layton, has the answer you're looking for. "We can plant now and the risk of frost should be considerably less from here on," says Stevenson.

Still, he adds, "That warranty is not written."

Stevenson says we're not completely out of the woods just yet. "Utah, we can have some pretty persnickety weather and it can change, temperatures can jump up and down considerably," says Stevenson.

If you do decide to dig in the dirt this Mother's Day weekend there are a few things to keep in mind for the next couple of weeks.

The easiest way to get information on specific microclimates in your area is to log onto There you will find data on the last spring and first fall freezes at many stations in the state. The Web site offers three spring dates -- the average date of the last spring freeze and the earliest and latest dates on which the last spring freeze has occurred. Similar dates are given for the fall freeze.

"There's still a possibility of frost. You might want to have some protection, even newspaper laid over the top will hold three or four degrees," says Stevenson.

He says things like a Wall o' Water, even a bucket set over the top can protect your plants if the weather turns frosty.

Some people are choosing to look on the bright side. "The birds ate all the tomatoes so we're going to try again," said Farmington resident Julie Townsend. "Last year was not so successful. I'm very confident this year will be the year of my tomatoes."


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