Learning The Frost Free Time Line For Vegetables In Your Area
Trying to figure out when to plant vegetables in your area can be time consuming and requires a little detective work. It all depends on your geographic location, your frost free dates, the type of vegetables you plan to grow and how you intend to plant them (seedlings, transplants or seeds). All of these will factor into the timing of getting your plants or seeds into the ground at the proper time.
You will need to find out your average last frost date in the spring and when to expect the first hard frost date in the fall. It is next to impossible to predict these dates with absolute certainty, that’s why you ask for the average date.
Don’t let that stop you from planting as the internet can give you valuable resources to finding an answer to those two most important dates. Do a quick online search with “frost free date” in the search box, add your hometown’s name and within seconds you will have several answers.
When planning your garden planting time line, remember these two important dates as virtual “bookends” around your prime vegetable growing season. If you start seeds indoors, as I do, or protect your plants from cold temperatures with mulch, cold frames, row covers or mini-hoop houses, you can extend your growing season even further. I use row covers not only as protection from the cold but to keep away bugs and other insects from my maturing plants.
When selecting your seed packets, pay close attention to the Maturity Time Line” listed on the package. It will normally tell you how long your plants should be in the ground before they are ready for you to eat. Some plants, such as radishes will have 30-40 days listed but others such as corn will have any where from 60 to 90 days until their maturity is reached. You will not want to wait until late July to plant corn but radishes will still do great at that date. It’s all in the timing of the planting.
It is well worth the effort to learn when to plant vegetables in your area. Learning when your prime growing season begins and ends by gauging your frost free dates, will make you a much better food gardener. It will, also, help you decide which vegetables to choose and how to help those varieties thrive in your vegetable garden.
For more information on what seeds or plants to choose, you might want to look at this post from last summer.