MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The long winter has meant frozen lakes, iced-over garden beds and many questions about when we can put the spade to dirt and start planting the garden.

Even 5-year-old Edina gardener Ari Farsht wants answers. He gardens with his mother, Amy. Last year he planted tomatoes and cucumbers.

“I want to know when it’s warm enough to plant a garden” Farsht said.

Gardening expert Trace Tomforde from Minneapolis’ Mother Earth Gardens says the warm spurt over the past five days has made a significant difference.

You can now plant potatoes, onions, carrots and spinach, lettuce, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

But Ari said he’s worried about the changing weather forecast for this week.

“I don’t think you should plant it today because it’s going to be slushy snow sometime this week,” Farsht said.

Tomforde said all of those seeds and seedlings are hardy enough to go in the ground before the last frost, which means they’re certainly ready to go now. But tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are not ready.

“Those things can’t go into the ground until it’s significantly warm, which is usually late May,” Tomforde said.

This is the same recommendation experts make every year. According to Tomforde, this year is really not that abnormal in the scheme of typical Minnesota winters. But gardener Dawn Yeager begs to differ.

“This winter though has been so long and so cold and so much snow. And so the three days of sun you’re just going crazy, like ‘Let’s just get going,’” Yeager said.

Still, there may be casualties of the late defrosting like veggies that prefer cool soil – namely peas and snow peas.

Tomforde also said that some of the flowers that typically bloom in the spring aren’t going to put on their normal show, like magnolias, tulips, daffodils. They may still bloom, but they’ll be spent very quickly.

Instead of enjoying tulips for two weeks, we may enjoy for two days.

Jason DeRusha