Despite warmth, it's not gardening season yet

March 17, 2012|By Scott Dance

Farmers and backyard gardeners may be tempted to plant early this year. But it's risky, said one agriculture expert.

The mild winter and early spring weather has flowers and trees in bloom several weeks earlier than usual. But even if soil has warmed, there is still too high a risk of frost or cold rain, said Robert Kratochvil of the University of Maryland Extension.

Crops like wheat and barley that have gone further in their reproductive cycle because of the warm weather could especially be at risk, he said.Late March and early April have seen lows near 20 degrees and highs near 40 degrees, after all. But the warmer-than-average spell we've been under isn't likely to allow that sort of a temperature drop.

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