Spring is almost here and it's finally
time to get ready for planting season! Figuring out your average last frost date can save you unnecessary headaches down the road. Here's how:
Unless you're a die-hard gardener or farmer, you probably don't know the average last frost date off the top of your head. Having this information can save you disappointment down the road if you plant to early.
We know, you have spring fever and are itching to start planting now. Trust us though, you'll want to do a little bit of research before putting a round of pretty spring flowers in the ground.
What's the big deal?
If you plant seeds or seedlings too early, they can die if it frosts overnight from that unexpected late-winter storm. They can also rot from being too wet or take a long time to germinate and grow.
If your plants are already in the ground there are still ways to protect them from frost damage
. Just make sure to keep an eye on the weather news for the next few months and be on the lookout for frost advisories.
Since frost dates listed tend to be averages, you'll probably see slightly different dates depending on which resource you look at.
Finding your last frost date
Perhaps the most popular resource for determining the average frost date in your area is the National Climatic Date Center
(NCDC). You simply choose your state and a list of cities will pop up in a PDF. Locate the city closest to you and you'll find the average last frost date for spring and first frost date for fall.
The frost dates are listed in terms of probability of frost after a given date -- 90/50/10. If you want to be on the safe side, look at the number in the 10 column since it means there is only a 10 percent chance of frost after that date.
The chart also provides three different temperature options. Most hobby gardeners will want to reference the date listed for 32 degrees farenheit.
Other resources for finding your frost date