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An early Spring pleases local green thumbs

Posted at 7:31 AM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 10:34:19-05

As a meteorologist, one of the most often asked questions I've received these last few weeks: Will it freeze again this winter or can I start planting my spring garden?

The answer is more difficult than you'd expect. We are only halfway through the Winter season, with Spring not beginning until Sunday March 20. So yes, a hard freeze is still possible, but climatologically speaking, once we get to the middle of February, Bakersfield tends to be pretty frost-free.

So I checked in with a local expert to see what you should plant and when.

Jere White, the president of White Forest Nursery, says that the best time to plant is typically the beginning of March, but those of you who are eager to get started can go ahead and take the risk to plant now.

He points to the almond trees that are already starting to blossom, showing plants are ready for Spring! The increased rain and last week's brief warm up are the cause, but both had great effects on the soil.

He says you can go ahead and plant your vegetable gardens now, but try and get the seeds deep into the cool soil so the roots dive down and take advantage of all the water the soil collects.

White does caution against planting sensitive plants like bougainvilleas, coral trees and ficus, it's best to wait until March for those.

And as for the rest of the El Nino season, White says your plants will love the additional rain headed our wa, as rainwater has more nitrogen and less chemicals than irrigation water.

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