GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Ready to get your garden on?

Heidi Heiland, certified professional and Master Gardener of Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens, joined KARE 11 News @4 to discuss safe soil temperatures for planting and offered up someideas for new funplants as we head into planting season.

According to Heidi, tender annuals and vegetable plants prefer warm, drained soils to properly establish agarden.

James B. Calkins, Ph.D., Research Information Director at Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA), recommends the following soil temperature guidelines to help us decide when it is safe to start planting.

- 50°F soil microbial activity begins.

- 50°F-60°F: cold season crops (peas, lettuces, pansies, and cold crops such as broccoli and kale, etc.) can be planted. Seeds of frost tolerant plants can be planted on the lower end of the range, frost tolerant transplants can be planted safely on the higher end of the range.

- 60°F-70°F:many tender annuals can be planted. Ideally these plants prefer the warmer soil temperatures. If we get anxious and plant too early (while the soil temps are hovering in the low 60's), the transplant shock is extreme and recovery time can extended into summer, even after soil temps reach 70°F. These stalled plants simply sit in the ground not really growing.

- 70°F+ :warm season veggies and tropicals are safe to plant. Less than 70°F soil temperatures and some veggies, such as peppers, and tropicals such as elephant ears, may never fully recover.

What this means is that we have to be patient with soil temperatures and our plants will reward us. Our gardens have to wait, but our planters can help ease the pain. Planters are independent of soil temperatures. They can be planted with tender summer annuals as soon as the threat of frost and freezing air temperatures has passed.

Potting soil in containers is light and airy and capable of trapping heat from the sun shining on the pots, unlike the wet, cold dirt in the gardens. This gives plants in a container an edge over those in the ground, so we can use these micro-climates to ease into the season.

Heidi also says there are some fun new plants to consider this planting season:

For the Sun

- Colocasia 'Thailand Giant' - Super-sized elephant ear with individual leaves reaching 4 to 5 feet long (not counting the leaf stem) and 3 to 4 feet wide! This is truly a colossal plant!

- Celosia 'Intenz' - Brilliant hot fuchsia-purple, multi-branching plumes on 18" tall plants that really throw a color punch in the garden. 'Intenz' is also reported to bloom more reliably than traditional celosias which can stop blooming if allowed to become root bound in the packs.

- Zinnia 'Zahara Starlight Rose' - Gorgeous white zinnia with hot pink centers. 14" to 18" tall. Great rebloom performance in hot dry locations.

- Cordyline Cherry Sensation

For the Shade

- Begonia 'Whopper' - Whopper is profusely covered with pinkish-red blooms on a large stature plant. Whopper is similar to the popular Dragonwing begonia but is thicker, brighter, and fuller. It is a gorgeous plant capable of performing in sun or shade, in a container or in the ground.

- Coleus 'Wasabi'

- Coleus 'Gays Delight'

- Torenia 'Grape-O-Liscious'

Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens 10th Annual Planter Party will be held Thursday May 23rd from 8 am to 6 pm.

This year's new and improved festivities will be at a neighboring nursery, Lawn King, 7555 County Road 116 in Corcoran, MN
Sign up for a two hour block of time that best fits your schedule. Example: 4-6 pm.

You can reach Heidi atHeidi's Lifestyle Gardens.

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