Why you should wait to plant your garden

Published: Mar. 23, 2018 at 3:10 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2018 at 4:31 PM CDT
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Temperatures on Friday morning could be in the 30s. Source: WMC Action News 5
Temperatures on Friday morning could be in the 30s. Source: WMC Action News 5

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - After an initially cold start to Spring, temperatures are finally starting to rise into the 60s and 70s. This has many people itching to plant the garden, but you may want to hold off for a while longer.

We will have a warm stretch of weather through the middle part of next week, but a cold front will push through the Mid-South on Wednesday and Thursday. Cooler air will move in behind this front and it may be cold enough for patchy frost. Temperatures could drop to the mid 30s on Friday morning, which means frost could be possible. Based on current weather models, we could still see morning temperatures in the 30s in northwest Tennessee on Saturday morning as well. Temperatures are expected to stay above frost criteria after that point.

This means that it would be in your best interest to wait until AFTER March 31st to plant anything. However, garden experts recommend that you wait until April 15 to plant seeds.

When temperatures drop into the 30s, ice crystals can form on your plants, which can damage the plant cells and either halt maturing or kill the plant. For a hard freeze, temperatures have to be at 32 degrees. However, frost can form when the air temperature is at 36 degrees or below. This is because temperatures vary greatly based on surface and moisture content in your garden. Therefore, the National Weather Service can issue advisories and warnings for frost even when temperatures are expected to be above freezing.

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