Ask a Question forum: When is it safe?

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Bloomington, Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Mar 17, 2018 7:23 AM CST
Hi! I'm a little new to taking gardening seriously, and have a few questions. I bought various flowers and plants this year, but can't quite find when it's safe to put them outside. The lowest it's been getting where I live is around 25 degrees, and it has not been lower than 20 degrees this entire month. I have a few plants I know are cold-hardy, but I keep getting mixed answers on when I can put them out/plant them in the ground. The plants are the viola, 36 inch snapdragon, and 10 inch snapdragon. I have a few others I'm worried about, but I'll focus on these for now! Any info is good info!
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 17, 2018 7:29 AM CST
Crazed - your plants will do well in the cooler temps but they've all been grown in a greenhouse where it's warm. They need to be hardened off a bit before planting. Take them outdoors for a few hours a day to start when temps are above freezing. Gradually leave them out for longer periods of time over the course of a couple of weeks before planting.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Bloomington, Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Mar 17, 2018 7:45 AM CST
Ah, that's great! I need to try and get the cool-temp plants out, so I can make room for some summer plants! I also have thyme, petunias, rosemary, and an early girl tomato plant. It's still too cold for all of them, right?
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 17, 2018 8:53 AM CST
Crazed - you will be trundling those cool-season plants in and out over the next couple of weeks. You are a little warmer than me up in NW IN and if this cold weather holds on, you may need to extend that acclimating period a little longer. Those summer plants need to stay indoors a while longer. Can't plant out petunias and tomatoes when there's still a chance of frost or freeze. Give the soil a chance to warm up to minimum 50 degrees.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Bloomington, Indiana (Zone 6a)
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CrazedHoosier
Mar 17, 2018 9:10 AM CST
I thought the early girl and petunia would need a little longer. I did once have a roma tomato that lived below 40 degrees for awhile, but I have no idea how it managed to survive. I'm guessing the herbs will need to be even warmer than the tomato and petunia? Ah, what an exciting year to be gardening already! Hilarious! Hurray!
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 17, 2018 9:53 AM CST
If you're planning on planting your herbs in the ground, the thyme should survive your winter but I'm not so sure about rosemary. It is more cold-sensitive. Those are more zone 6 or 7 depending on variety. I grow mine in a pot year-round and bring it indoors over winter but I am in zone 5.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb

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