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The Green Thumb: Let's get ready to plant!

Little seedlings growing in pots.

Hi, this Rick Heflebower. I'm the horticulture agent with Utah State University Extension located in Washington County.

I'd like to share with you some garden tips today. The weather is cold; it's been cold throughout Utah. Probably will keep that way for another week or so. But as temperatures warm up, we need to think about beginning to plant those vegetables that we want to seed for transplants.

Most transplants take about six to eight weeks to grow to a mature enough size that they can be put in the garden. So figure about six to eight weeks before the last frost date, particularly for things like tomatoes, peppers and melons.

Begin to get a schedule together where you can get those planted in time, so that they'll be ready to move to the garden when the last frost occurs. The other thing that you want to think about planting now are those vegetables which like the cool weather.

These would be things like leafy greens such as spinach, cabbage, kale, broccoli and lettuce. Also root vegetables, onions, beets and potatoes. If you haven't planted those yet, you can prep the soil: loosen up the soil, add some organic matter and get things ready and begin to plant those vegetables moisten the soil evenly.

And as the temperatures warm, these vegetables will begin to grow. They can handle a light frost; it won't hurt them at all for it to freeze. The other thing that you could do is you can modify your soil temperatures by using the row cover or black plastic.

This will warm the soil slightly and also enhance those current conditions and make things come up and begin to grow more quickly. More information on this technique can be found here.