April 15th is the last frost date for our planting zone, which means most of the gardeners in Tulsa will be busy getting their hands dirty this weekend.

If you’re planting this weekend, resist the temptation to put your peppers in the garden this early. Most crops will tolerate cool weather, provided the temperature doesn’t dip below freezing, but peppers do best if you wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently in the 50s or higher before you plant. Putting them out early won’t kill them, but it definitely stresses the plants, and it doesn’t do anything to speed up their growth; if anything, it slows them down.

I generally wait until early to mid May to plant peppers. Waiting a few weeks doesn’t hurt the plants (provided they’re not rootbound; if they are, just transplant them into bigger containers), and they get off to a much better start if you wait and put them out when it’s warm.

Emily

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