As a beginner gardener, the term frost dates is often heard or seen. Every seed catalog or website you come across will have these two terms first frost date and last frost date. These terms are essential for gardeners. Misinterpret or neglect this information, and you run the risk of reduced or decreased harvest, stunted growth, or even worse, killing your plants. Your frost date is determined by where you live. Each USDA gardening zones frost dates differ. Since we are talking about nature, it is difficult, if not impossible, to be exact. So when it comes to these dates, use them as a guideline. To be safe, add two weeks in each direction.
What are Frost Dates?
It’s important to know that there are two: first frost date and last frost date.
The First Frost Date or FFD is the first day you can expect a frost in your garden. Why is this essential? Armed with this information, we can work backward from this date and ensure that we are planting things at the right time to ensure a harvest. While some plants can withstand or benefit from frost or freezes, this is not true for everything. So this first frost date helps us plan and execute our fall gardening. We know when to plant with this information, ensuring plants have ample time to produce.
The Last Frost Date or LFD is the last day to expect a frost. So knowing your LFD will help you prepare for spring. Using this information to help plan for the garden Most spring plants except for cucumbers and other squash need a minimum of 8 weeks before they are ready for the garden. So knowing the LFD, we can work backward eight weeks and make sure that we have enough time to start our seeds and have healthy transplants.
With gardening, timing is vital Plant broccoli at the wrong time, and it won’t form a proper size head Lettuce too late in the season, and it will bolt before you have a chance to make a salad.
Armed with this knowledge, you are now ready to plan your garden and start your seeds. Hopefully, this helps you feel more confident getting your hands dirty and out in the garden.
Don’t forget the motto; JUST GROW IT!
Check your Frost Dates here.
Now and then, it snows in Houston.