It would seem that spring came early this year.
I work at Fasel and Sons garden center, so I get a lot of questions this time of year. I'll answer some of the more popular ones.
Can I plant grass seed now?
YES. Spring is a great time to start seed because the cool temps make watering easier. Grass seed will germinate even when temperatures are relatively low. If the temp were to drop below 45 degrees, the seed would just sit there and wait for warmer temps. No real harm done.
Also, when starting grass seed, make sure the soil surface stays moist. A cheap timer hooked up to the hose takes the worry out of the job.
Can I put my tomatoes and peppers out now?
YES BUT... Those two crops like weather to be consistently warm and they have no tolerance for frost. If you really want to put them out now, make little greenhouse covers for them by cutting the bottom off a milkjug made of transparent plastic (take off the cap too) to help keep them warmer and protect from light frosts.
Better things to put out now would be cool season crops like, peas, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, kolrabbi, cabbage, brussels sprouts, onions and radishes. They grow better in the cool weather and some of them don't mind a little frost.
Is it safe to plant/transplant?
YES. Moving plants while they are dormant (or just waking up) is a great idea. Because they don't have any leaves (or not many) they don't have very high water requirements. Frost won't have ANY effect on them.
The myth that the cold will "shock" them is completely unfounded. Dormant plants are able to handle frosts, it dosen't matter if they are in a pot for sale at the nursery, growing in your back yard for 20 years or freshly transplanted... they are still dormant.
When do I put down crabgrass killer (step 1)
NOW! The sooner the better. In a normal year, it would still be a few weeks early. However,the mild winter and the early warm temperatures mean that the ground is warming up early and the crabgrass seeds are going to be germinating very soon.
Step 1 premergent crabgrass killers only work on crabgrass seedlings as they greminate. If we miss the timing and put it on too late, it has no effect. Just remember, when the forsythia bushes are blooming, it's time to put it down. If the forsythia are done, you probably missed your chance.
Forsythia are the big, bright yellow flowering bushes in full bloom in everybodys yards right now. In a week or so, they'll be done.
See you in the garden center!