Starting seed? Average Last Frost date resources


Posted by justtracy | Posted in Gardening | Posted on 12-01-2013


If you are planning to start seed indoors, one of the things you will need to know is the Average Last Frost date for you area.  Why?  Seeds germinate at different rates (by weeks) and some things can go out a little early because they are hardier (perennials or pansies for example).   You need to have an idea of your average last frost date to know how far out to start your seed.

Here are a couple of resources:

Daves Garden has a look up by Zip Code with station data from the National Climatic Data Center.

Seed Catalogs and their websites will also usually have a map with date ranges.  Here is Burpee’s map.

Your state Cooperative Extension should also have a map and or publication resource with average dates as well.  Here is the Virginia (VCE) Map.

A good old Farmer’s Almanac (or website) will also have a list of approximate dates by cities.

And if you are new to gardening or moved to a new area, don’t forget to ask a local gardener.  Local knowledge is usually the best.  Mine told me last year the last frost was May 15, but the previous two years you could plant 2 weeks earlier.

Keep an eye on the weather forecasts and start keeping your own records for your yard.  Even in the same zip code, frost dates can vary due to micro-climates, or specific variables in your location that determine wether or not you are affected by a frost (orientation of your garden with your house, or a fence, yard elevation, trees, bodies of water, etc).

Based on my research, I am going with May 5.  But I will pay attention to the weather forecasts and be prepared to hold things inside a while longer.



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