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OLD TOWN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After a long winter, Travis Rackliffe and his family always look forward to being able to garden.

"To get outside and exercise, like to teach the kids to do it. Keeps us busy, just again another excuse to get outside and do something," Rackliffe said.

However, many farms and gardens in Maine are still just a plot of soil.

"It's disappointing, because we really like to do it, the kids like to get out and do it," Rackliffe said. "And then of course as the reward, at the end of the year we get to harvest everything and then make stuff out of our own vegetables instead of buying them. So it's set us back a little bit."

The weather has caused this setback.

"This has been a very cold, very slow start to any kind of growing season," Barbara Murphy, an educator with the UMaine Cooperative Extension, said. "So tonight it's supposed to get around 39 degrees here. That's not a frost worry, per se, but what it does is it just slows down to a crawl all plant growth that was happening on a warmer, sunny day. So as people might note in their garden, things might be there and they're living, but they're not growing."

Warm season crops like tomatoes, eggplants and melons are among the plants that do not grow in this weather. Murphy's top piece of advice for home gardeners is to wait for consistently warm daytime and nighttime temperatures.

"Be patient. Just be patient. The soils are very cold, much colder than the air temperature, and they're absolutely saturated. No seeds germinate very well under these conditions, and seedlings don't get established well under these conditions. So just be patient," she said.

Home gardeners who have already planted their summer crops can protect them from the frost by covering them with blankets and sheets, or even a milk jug.

Tonight's frost advisory covers much of Aroostook County, Washington, Piscataquis, Hancock and northern Penobscot County. It is in effect until 6 a.m.

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