WAIT AND SEE. I have had a lot of questions concerning the survivability of zone 7 plants in light of the sub-zero temperatures we endured in early February. My best advice is wait and see. Some woody shrubs and perennials may have had their tops killed but will come back from the ground. I know my Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii), Photinia, Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus officianalis) are all looking a little iffy at this point. Herbaceous perennials, those that naturally die to the ground in winter may break dormancy later than usual. It all depends on the location in your landscape, if they were stressed from lack of water or nutrients and how much snow was insulating them when the coldest temperatures hit. So wait well into May before you decide to replace things and if you do end up replacing a lot of plants you should probably stick with zone 6 from now on.
THINK VEGETABLES. If you want your own warm season vegetables to transplant outdoors in May you will need to start them indoors now. Bigger seeds like corn, beans, squash and melons are best seeded directly into the garden whereas smaller seeds such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant do well when planted from transplants. The quality of the seed you use is very important. We carry Lake Valley Seeds. Their germination rate is very high, all the seeds are untreated and they contain no Genetically Modified Organisms. When starting seeds indoors fill a seed tray with good potting soil like Uni-gro, that drains well. (We had a large number of people complain about the poor quality of the Miracle Gro potting soil that Walmart was selling last year. Keep in mind you really do get what you pay for.) Plant the seed according to package directions and firm the soil gently. Since warm season vegetables need warm soil to germinate, place the seed tray on a seedling heat mat, heating pad wrapped in plastic or the top of the refrigerator. Keep soil moist using a watering can with a very fine rosette or misting with a spray bottle. Once the seeds have germinated they will need lots of light. A sunny window (be sure to move them away at night if temps are cold), heated greenhouse or fluorescent grow lights work best. When seedlings develop their second set of leaves it is time to transplant them. Using your fingers or a spoon dig up individual seedlings keeping the rootball intact. Plant them in 3-4" pots filled with potting soil. Water thoroughly to settle soil and fertilize regularly with Fox Farm's liquid Grow Big or granular Tomato and Vegetable. You may want to transplant these plants again into larger containers as they outgrow their pots. One week before you plan to plant your vegetables outside (our average last frost date is May 1st) you will need to "harden them off" or get them used to direct sun, changing temperatures and wind. Set them outside for several hours every day gradually increasing their exposure to the elements. Once they are ready for the real world plant them in your garden. Tomatoes can be planted extra deeply for maximum root production. You may need to erect some sort of temporary windbreak. If you don't want to go to all of this trouble we will have a large variety of warm season vegetables available beginning in mid-April. When we open on March 29th the nursery will already have cool season vegetables such as Cabbage, Lettuce, Spinach and Broccoli in stock that are ready to be planted and our 2011 Lake Vally Seeds are here.
PRUNE ROSES. See Silver Heights Nursery MARCH 2010.