Monthly Gardening: Frost Free Date

1) FROST FREE DATE - May 15 in Chicago area

2) COOL-SEASON ANNUALS - Frost-tolerant annuals, safe to plant in the garden prior to the frost free date; pansies, violas, snapdragons, petunias, sweet alysssum, dianthus stock and lobelia

Cool-season annuals

  • Plants that are frost tolerant (down to mid 20's F), that can be planted now to awaken our gardens with color
  • Possible plants: Pansies and violas, Primroses, Bellis (English daisies), Sweet alyssum, Stock, Snapdragons, Forget-me-nots
3) WARM-SEASON ANNUALS - Better to wait until danger of frost has passed, (after frost free date): geraniums, begonias, impatiens, zinnias, periwinkle, nicotiana, cleome, torenia, lantana, verbena

Warm-season annuals

  • Plants that need warm soil temperatures to develop and grow, 65-70 degrees F
  • Plants: Geraniums, Impatiens, Begonias, Torenias, Cupheas, Zinnias, Vincas, Nicotianas, Celosias, Portulacas, etc.
  • If you have already planted these plants because the weather has tempted you, be prepared to protect them if freezing temperatures are predicted; covering with large sheets to hold ground temperatures around the plants usually is satisfactory.
4) VEGETABLES - There are also cool-season and warm-season vegetables:

A) Cool season; lettuce, peas, onions, cabbage, kale, spinach, radish

B) Warm season; tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, corn. zucchini

C) Plant most transplants at the same level at which they were growing, the one exception is tomatoes - to encourage additional rooting, strip the leaves off the stem and plant 4-6 inches deeper, laying the stem on its side, and covering it with soil

5) HERBS - most herbs require warm soil temperatures and full sun to perform best, especially basil (which does not like temperatures to go below 40 degrees F)

6) PERENNIALS - It is completely safe to plant any perennials now, especially natives (so use your energy on the perennial beds until the temperatures warm up)

Chalet Nursery
3132 Lake Ave
(847) 256-0561

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