We just completed another fabulous (if tiring!) weekend at the Arts Alive! Home and Garden Festival in Wichita Falls.

As I stood in our booth greeting old friends and potential new friends, the phrase I heard over and over was, “We’ll be out to see you in a few weeks, when spring gets here.”

And my answer was always, “Why are you waiting a few weeks? There is so much you can be planting and doing right now!”

Here in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma, if you wait till the official start of spring — or even worse, Easter — to start your spring planting, you are missing the boat! There are so many things that can and should be planted before the last frost.

For instance, trees and shrubs should be planted here in the fall and winter, and the sooner you get them out before hot weather hits, the better. But you definitely don’t need to wait for warmer weather to plant them.

The same applies to all perennials, and many vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, asparagus and strawberries should be planted in February or early March.

There are even quite a few blooming bedding plants that can be planted before we hit the frost-free days. Alyssum, petunias, dianthus and others will take the light freezes still to come this season.

You definitely should wait for warmer weather to plant things like marigolds, periwinkles, caladium bulbs, tomatoes and peppers, as well as other heat lovers.

But on a nice late winter day, there are many, many things you can plant if the urge hits you. And you’re likely to get a lot more personal attention in the garden center in February and March than in April!