tomato cinthia milner transplanted and still blooming tomato

No You Cannot Plant Tomatoes Now. Here’s What You Can Plant.

Everyone is dying, and I do mean dying, to dig in the dirt. My sister texts me almost daily with a “Can I start….?” And, every body really wants to get their tomatoes in the ground. So, here’s a little jingle for you:

Tomatoes won’t grow if it’s 50 or below.

But, to make you happy while you wait to plant your tomatoes, here’s a quick YES YOU CAN ON WHAT YOU CAN go ahead and plant. Let’s get in the dirt.

For you veggie gardeners.

When the soil is warm enough for you to dig, there are some veggies you can plant. A lot of vegetables like the cooler temperatures and can even take some frost. Rule of thumb: nurseries follow the gardening schedule, i.e. if it’s in the garden center, you can likely go ahead and plant it. So, here’s a few things to get you started, and have you harvesting long before your tomatoes get in the ground.

  • Lettuces, spinach, argulua, raddicho–all those good salad ymmies can go in the ground now
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts (I have a great recipe for those included at the bottom.)
  • Cauliflower
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Cilantro (This one is iffy, but I plant now because once the weather gets warm, it bolts.)

For those interested in landscaping.

The question is: May I plant trees and shrubs now? 

The answer: Yes.

So long as those plants are watered. It is not the cold that will kill them, but the lack of water. I water new plantings (even in winter/early spring) with a drip line hose, twice a week for about 5-10 minutes depending on the plant’s size (the bigger trees/shrubs, obviously the longer). The goal is to get the roots established, and you want those roots to go deep. So drip lines are good for soaking deeply. But again, please remember that the nurseries will bring in certain plants at certain times. So, while you can find lots of conifers, fruit trees, berry bushes, and spring blooming camellias now, those billions of hydrangeas you see in garden centers come May and June aren’t quite here yet.

For you perennial lovers.

Go back indoors.

Kidding, but you will need to wait just a few more weeks. There are some great Lenten Roses (Hellebores) you can plant now, a few groundcovers would be okay. But most perennials are still just roots. So hold off on those lovely blooming things for a few more weeks. Don’t worry, you’ll soon have more pots of things than you can plant.

For everyone.

Use your Preen now. Weeds seem immune to weather. Get a head start.


Warm Brussel Sprout Slaw with Bacon

  • 3/4 thick sliced bacon cut into 1/2″ pieces (Olive oil can be substituted.)
  • 4 tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 2 lbs of brussel sprouts thinly sliced in food processor
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored, coarsely shredded and pat dry (FYI: I cut mine into thin slices and use that way, it works too)
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves

Cook bacon, drain, reserve 1/4 grease. Melt butter in pan, and add brussel sprouts in batches, cooking over high heat until soft (5-8 minutes). Add thyme, apples, and cook until apples are warmed through. Add bacon back to mixture and serve. 

This recipe is from a friend who would likely die if I mentioned her on a blog, so I won’t. But, I do work for her brother. See if you can guess who.