Sunday, January 4, 2015

Frost Dates

One of the first things a gardener must do is figure out their "frost dates".  You need to know what the "last frost day" and the "first frost day" are for your garden. For some reason, this always gives my blonde brain a bit of exercise. My first thought is always that "last" means end of season rather the beginning of the gardening season. So, my way of keeping myself straight on this matter is:

The Last Shall Be First

So, how does one discover when their frost dates are? The Farmer's Almanac has a Frost Date table but if you don't live in one of the listed cities, it is not as accurate. It may suffice but there are also websites that will calculate it for you by zip code. Dave's Garden has one --simply put in your zip code and they give you the Last and First Frost Dates for 50% chance of frosts and dates for only a 10% chance of frost.

For example, for my area the average (50%) risk of frost is from November 5 through March 30. Meaning, that my Last Frost Date in Spring is March 30 and my First Frost Date in the Fall is November 5. I also learn that there absolutely will be frost risk from November 25th through March 13th. So, if I want to plant as early as March 13th or grow after November 5th, I need to have row covers to protect against frosty nights. But, in actuality, I need to have row covers or cloches available from March 30 to April 17 because there is a smaller risk of frost in that time period and also from October 17 to November 5th. Lastly, I'm advised that my garden growing season is roughly 220 days.

Next, I take this information to my new Week-by-Week Gardening Journal and start plugging in my dates. Counting back from the March 30th date of last frost, to the journal's starting point -- 20 weeks prior -- and I realize that I'm already way behind! Gasp! The Spring Garden actually starts at the end of November the previous year! Fortunately, These early weeks are gardening planning that I can get caught up with (hopefully) so that I actually plant out my Spring garden ON TIME this year.

Tasks for this week:
  1. catalog my existing seeds
  2. get a replacement glass tube for my rain gauge

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