04 March 2016

Gardening Tip: Frost Free Date Explained

Spring is almost here! Garden centers are getting new plants and trees and products in every day.

Today’s Tip:
Know you Frost Free Date

A Frost Free Date is the average date in spring when your area no longer experiences frost. This date is important for knowing when to plant in spring. It is also the average date in fall for when your area experiences the first frost.  Knowing both spring and fall frost dates will help you determine the length of your growing season. 

What is your date? Well, Dave’s Garden offers a great webpage where you can look it up by zipcode. So, for example, I live in Lancaster and my zipcode is 17601. The site informs me that my average “risk of frost” is between 11 October and 28 April.

The site also notes that I am “almost guaranteed” not to have frost between 10 May and 26 September. Hence this time period – 10 May through 26 September – is my Frost Free Dates.

That said, as a general rule of thumb, Mother’s Day is the easiest way to remember when to start planting. However, now is the time to plan your garden. Lay it out like you would any other project.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016
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