Posts Tagged ‘last frost date’

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Last Frost Date and Why it Matters

February 22, 2012

With the onset of spring-like weather, it is tempting to put away frost cloths and to plant vegetation and sow seeds outdoors. But, don’t let the sunshine, green field grasses, and emerging buds fool you. Frost and frozen ground can kill or damage plants and seeds leaving you frustrated, discouraged, and broke.

If you are new to gardening or have recently moved, ask your local Master Gardener Chapter or professional nursery person for your zone’s last frost date. They can also tell you what zone you live in or plug in your zip code here to find out. But remember there is more than one zone system. Guest writer and master gardener Robin Ivanoff explains here.

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Seed Starting Guide

February 8, 2012

Recently, I came across a FREE, on-line seed-starting guide at Johnny’s Seeds. This is an awesome tool that I hope you will use. Although it’s not a complete list of vegetable and flower crops, it includes those most grown by home gardeners.

In order to explain a couple of things about the guide, I have posted part of it below:

  • Once you are at the link, enter the last estimated frost date in your area (where it says mm/dd/yyyy) and the dates following each crop will automatically  change accordingly. Is that cool or what!
  • In the cell where it says, “Safe time to set out plants (relative to frost-free date)”, the phrase ‘to set out’ simply means ‘hardening off’. This is a horticulture term for placing indoor seedlings outside during daylight to gradually make them more resistant to their new environmental conditions. If you are a gardener who doesn’t have the time or patience to do this and prefer transplanting seedlings directly into the soil, simply protect your tender plants from the hot afternoon sun with a cover cloth until they adjust to the climate.
Enter spring frost-free date (include year):  
mm/dd/yyyy
Crop Number of weeks to start seeds before setting-out date When To start inside Setting-out date
From To Safe time to set out plants (relative to frost-free date) From To
Artichoke 8 19-Feb on frost-free date 15-Apr
Basil 6 11-Mar 1 week after 22-Apr
Beets* 4 to 6 19-Feb 4-Mar 2 weeks before 1-Apr
Broccoli 4 to 6 19-Feb 4-Mar 2 weeks before 1-Apr
Cabbage 4 to 6 5-Feb 18-Mar 4 weeks before 18-Mar 15-Apr

After you utilize Johnny’s Seeds’ seed-starting guide, check out their online catalog. I know several master gardeners who are pleased with their service and products. Have fun with both!

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