FARMINGTON, Minn. -- With the start of spring looking more like the dead of winter, some Twin Cities businesses are getting anxious for warmer weather.
"If you've got zero degrees predicted Wednesday morning or Thursday morning, it's scary for a greenhouse," said Louis Rutten, the grower manager at South Cedar Greenhouses in Farmington.
Some of South Cedar's greenhouses, normally filled with fledgling plants by now, are still empty. There's just too much risk that furnaces in the plastic-sided structures will be unable to keep temperature above freezing.
"We're not set up for that cold of temperatures that late in the season," said Rutten.
Record high mid-March temperatures in 2012 meant early plant shipments for South Cedar to retail customers across Minnesota and into Iowa and Wisconsin.
The wholesaler's first shipments will likely be later than normal, but then stores won't be clamoring for product if customers can't start planting anyway.
"There will be a spring," Rutten assured visitors. "This snow will be gone. Soon, soon I hope."
A similar story exists down the road at Pellicci Ace Hardware, where freshly delivered gardening soil now sits beneath snow banks. Inside, a large stack of fertilizer waits undisturbed on the sales floor.
"Last year, it was eight degrees and the foot traffic was double what it is now," said Amanda Pellicci.
The store sells a four-step fertilization program. Pellicci suspects many homeowners will skip the first application this spring, since it's supposed to be applied in February, March or April-- and only after the ground thaws.
The Pelliccis are trapped in a sort of hardware store limbo-- too late for snow blowers and too early for lawn mowers.
"We actually got a call today asking if we had any discount mowers because the snow is out there," said an amused Pellicci.
The answer was no.