Posted on 01 May 2007 by urbangardencasual.com

When Can You Begin Planting Outdoors?

when can you plant? - urbancasual.comBy Reggie Solomon

Just because you can sleep with your window up overnight, doesn’t mean it’s safe to begin planting outdoors.

It’s certainly tempting to scratch the itch of outdoor seeding and transplanting as soon as the first signs of spring emerge, however before doing so, relax — and find the frost free date for your area.

What is a “Frost Free Date?”

The “frost free date” is a date after which the chances of frost are significantly diminished. Early morning and overnight frost can significantly damage or kill young seedlings and delicate plants.

While planting after the frost free date is no guarantee against winter frost, it does make you sleep better night. Particularly in areas such as the northeast where May surprise snowstorms are not uncommon (May 15 is the frost free date for most of the northeast U.S.), planting outdoors after the frost free date is key.

How to Determine the Frost Free Date for Your Area

  • Grow Zone Finder - UrbanGardenCasual.comGrow Zone Finder –Look it Up Online

The National Gardening Association provides an easy way to determine your grow zone, which can help you figure out your frost free date. Pop your zip code into their handy zone finder, and use that zone number to determine your frost free date by comparing it to the chart on the Lowes gardening website.

  • Visit Your Local Garden Supply Store

Ask your local gardening store (not a big-box home improvement superstore). They follow the particularities of weather patterns for your area because their livelihoods depend on it.

  • Call Your Count Extension Service

They often serve the regional agricultural industry, and can be helpful in determining your frost free date. To find an extension service near you click here.

Remember the frost free date is not a guarantee, it’s a rule of thumb.

It’s also not a bad idea to check the 10-day weather forecast online just before you plant to note if any cool evening or morning temperatures are expected.

Now, get back to enjoying that spring weather and prepping your garden for planting. 😉

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