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Published April 26, 2012, 08:25 PM

Early Spring Brings Uncertain Planting for Farmers, Gardeners

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - With the early spring, many farmers and gardeners got an early jump on planting. There is a gamble that comes with that. Overnight temperatures can easily drop below freezing, as was the case last night.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - With the early spring, many farmers and gardeners got an early jump on planting. There is a gamble that comes with that.

Overnight temperatures can easily drop below freezing, as was the case last night.

The freeze in the Grand Forks area was not what you would call a hard freeze. But it was enough to cause damage to the more sensitive plants.

Connie Erdman is getting ready for spring. Shopping for plants, making sure she is ready when the weather is right and that's not quite yet.

"What we plant are mainly tomatoes and the sensitive plant to freezing temperatures," Erdman said.

"I think we are all a little seasonally challenged lately," Jan Heitmann at All Seasons Garden Center said.

Heitmann says a mild winter and early spring may have some gardeners ignoring the calendar.

"We live in North Dakota. There is no stopping people when we are ready to go," Heitmann said.

But last night shows the risk of planting too early. Fragile plants like tomatoes, peppers and geraniums, if not covered or brought inside, can be damaged by frost.

"Technically we are still a month away from our last frost day. So keeping things mobile is an option," Heitmann said.

"Small grains can take temperatures down into the 25 degrees area quite nicely," Grand Forks County Extension Agent Willie Huot said.

Huot says last night's temperatures that were in the 20s are not normally cold enough to hurt those planted crops that were in the field earlier than normal.

"Most of the crops are not emerged yet. So the risk of any damage of last night's temperatures are very low for our area. Even north of here the damage would be quite small," Huot said.

As for Connie Erdman, she is going to avoid the likely chore of covering plants and wait until late next month before she puts her tomatoes in the ground.

"I've lived here my whole life and I know better," Erdman said.

As far as backyard garden plants, there are some plants that are OK to plant now. Those include onions, carrots and radishes.

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