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With 'roller coaster' weather in Nebraska, it's best to hit pause on planting

With 'roller coaster' weather in Nebraska, it's best to hit pause on planting

Michael Pecha has created a native grass garden full of flowers and fauna.

Scott Evans has a caution for area gardeners eager to plant:

“This is Nebraska,” he said. “Right now, our weather is on a big roller coaster. Just because it’s nice today and tomorrow doesn’t mean it’s going to be nice a week from now.”

Evans, horticulture program coordinator for the Extension Office in Douglas-Sarpy Counties, says it’s best to hit pause on your planting plans.

Even though it’s been warm and sunny the past few days, next week’s temperatures will be cooler, with highs some nights in the 30s.

That’s too cold for tomatoes and other warm-season crops. They prefer soil temperatures above 65 degrees. On Monday, the soil temperature in Omaha was around 55.

Last year, Evans said, it snowed 6 inches in mid-April and nighttime temperatures dropped into the 20s.

“We would want to be very cautious on purchasing and planting,” he said. “We don’t want to buy something and go rebuying again.”

The safest time to plant remains after Mother’s Day, which this year falls on May 9. That’s when the danger of frost is gone, Evans said.

Evans said he understands that people are excited to start planting. He said it’s OK to buy annuals and vegetables now to get the best selections, but hold off on planting them for a few more weeks.

Keep them in a sunny spot in the house or, if temperatures during the day are above 60 degrees, put them outside and return them inside in the evening.

“Put a string on your finger so you don’t forget to bring them back in,” he said.

Omaha World-Herald: Afternoon Update

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Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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