What is Frost Dates?
Frost dates refer to the dates when frost is expected to occur in the spring and fall. The last frost date in the spring is the expected date of the last frost, after which it is generally safe to plant frost-sensitive plants outdoors. The first frost date in the fall is the expected date of the first frost, after which it is generally advisable to protect or harvest frost-sensitive plants.
Southern Hemisphere v Northern Hemisphere
Frost dates can vary widely depending on the location. Some areas in the Northern Hemisphere experience frost as early as September and others not experiencing frost until November. In the Southern Hemisphere, some areas can experience frost as early as April and others not until June. Factors that can influence frost dates include the latitude, elevation, and proximity to bodies of water. In general, frost is more likely to occur at higher elevations and farther inland, while areas near bodies of water tend to have milder winters and a later frost date.
To determine the frost dates for a specific location, you can use a frost date calculator or consult a gardening guide or almanac for your region. You can also ask local gardening clubs or extension offices for information about frost dates in your area.
The last frost date is the expected date of the last frost in spring when it is safe to plant frost-sensitive plants outdoors. This last frost date is extremely important to know so that you can start your seedlings indoors a few weeks before the last frost.
In addition to using frost date information as a guide for planting, it is also important to pay attention to the weather forecast and be prepared to protect your plants if frost is expected. Covering plants with a frost blanket or moving them indoors can help to protect them from frost damage.
But how exactly do you determine whether the final freeze has passed?
Well, there are a few sources you can turn to. One option is to consult your local nursery. Most nursery workers know these dates for the area you live in.
If you’re in the USA you can use Dave’s Garden to look up your frost dates according to your city, state, or zip code.
If you’re in South Africa, you can use these planting calendars from Organic Seeds to see when you should start planting.