What are the first and last frost dates? Deciding when it is best to plant your seeds or transplants outside can be a little overwhelming. Will you get a late frost or an early frost that may cause your plants to die? Every year the weather in your area can be different. It is important to understand the Average First Frost Date and the Average Last Frost Date for your location to ensure you know the best possible time to plant your plants.
Last Frost Date
Your last frost date is the average last date in Spring that your area will have a light freeze. This is the date you will base all your spring plantings on, whether it is your seeds or your transplants. Your last frost date will help you calculate when to start your seeds indoors so the plants are mature enough to go out into the garden when the temperatures are right. Remember this is the average last frost date. There is still the possibility that you will have frost after this date so it is important to watch your weather around when you are planning on putting things out in the garden. You don’t want a late frost to hurt or kill your tiny seedlings.
First Frost Date
Your first frost date is the average first date in the Fall that your area will have a light freeze. You use this data to calculate the last date you should be planting items in your garden. Some plants can handle a light freeze but others will unfortunately die if they get too cold. You can extend your garden season using season extenders like cold frames or a greenhouse. Again make sure to watch your weather around this date to ensure that you don’t get caught off guard with an early frost.
How to find your First and Last Frost Dates?
It is very easy to figure out when your average first and last frost dates are. There are several websites in which you can just enter your zip code and it will let you know the dates.
- Farmers Almanac – you just need to enter your zip code and they will provide the date for you
- Bonnie Plants – They have a color-coded Map showing average first and last frost dates
- National Gardening Association – you just need to enter your zip code and they will provide the date for you
What to do next?
Now that you have the information you need it is time to plan out your garden. Record your Average First and Last Frost Dates in a gardening journal or somewhere you can easily reference when planning what to plant. Make sure to monitor your weather around your first and last frost dates and enjoy the delicious produce from your garden.