BOISE, Idaho – There’s really nothing quite like this time of year – the bees are buzzing, the birds are chirping, and the plants are starting to sprout.
But what can grow outside this time of year is unique to the region’s geography without the watchful eye of a gardener.
“The problem is, I think if you put something tender, like a tomato plant, you have to protect it,” Susan Bell, a horticulturist at the University of Idaho, said of this time of year. ‘year.
Many factors impact when and where a plant can grow. An important element is minimum winter temperatures – geographically divided into hardiness zones which determine which plants can survive outdoors.
“So plants that can fit into our hardiness zones, we would be looking to grow things that are between a six and a seven,” Bell said.
Generally, all species in hardiness zones 2 through 7 can live outdoors and survive southern Idaho winters, but anything above zone 8 needs help. an observant gardener and a good frost-free growing season.
“We usually have about 150 to 160 growing days here,” Bell said.
In 2016, the Boise region had the longest growing season on record at 232 days. Bell said it was a positive thing for the producers. Some crops, for example sweet potatoes, take over 200 days to thrive.
Bell says that right now, planting cool-season crops like garlic is fine and underground crops like carrots are a safe bet. However, it is still too early for plants that need a lot of sun, such as beans, corn or tomatoes.
So, with fluctuating conditions, gardeners closely monitor the weather at this time of year.
“Oh, they watch it all the time and they become, I guess, weather hawks,” Bell said.
If you have any questions about gardening, you can contact Susan Bell or one of the Master Gardeners at the University of Idaho Ada County Extension Office.
The Master Gardeners are holding a plant sale this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 5880 Glenwood Street near the Western Idaho Fairgrounds in Boise.