Sunday, April 26, 2015

Last Frost

I haven't had a good frost photo in my garden in over a year so that photo is from years ago. This year's weather has been a bit extreme. The winter didn't get all that cold. The low was -3.2F (-20C). That is a pretty typical low here. But the average temperatures were very low this year. I haven't done the calculations for February, but it was probably between 5-10F below normal. And our snowfall totals made the national news. One of the storms was bad enough to be declared a national emergency and get federal funding.

Entry to the garden in February

This was the latest year ever for the garden to thaw out. I didn't test it day to day, but I still had ice in certain spots on April 17th. Though as you can tell from my last post, not all of the garden was frozen at that point or the plants wouldn't be doing so well.

My normal last frost date is in April sometime. For the last years it was the following.

  • 18 April 2014
  • 22 April 2013
  • 7 April 2012
  • 9 April 2011

I'm guessing we have had our last frost already. The long range forecast is for a warming trend and last night we didn't get into the 30s at all. Can you guess which day was our last frost day?

Well if you guessed April 5th you would be right. It has been the earliest last frost I've had yet at this house. I have had some 33F temperatures after that. The latest was the night before last. Sometimes you get a frost at that temperature, but here usually not. The land here is pretty flat all around so colder air doesn't usually flow into the garden. It sure is strange having had frozen soil almost two weeks past my last frost date.

I have a friend who doesn't believe that average weather really ever exists here. We are either in the grips of warm fronts or cold fronts, so either above normal or below. There is something to be said for that point of view. Once the warm front hit in April our temperatures were above normal for quite some time. It made springtime gardening a pleasure. Some years I'm out in my heavy jacket shivering while I plant my spinach. Not this year. On Wednesday our warm weather will come back. I'm looking forward to it.


  1. You certainly do have extreme weather to contend with. I can't imagine living with snow for weeks on end.

  2. We had frost both Thursday and Friday mornings. Though it wasn't near freezing, it was 37°F both mornings. And that is pretty much 'normal' for our last frost date. Our last freeze was on 3/29. I tend to agree with your friend - I'm not sure 'average' or 'normal' ever exists with our weather either.

  3. I know my area is usually closer to mid-May for last frost but I don't track it much - I watch for the below zero temps which can still happen any night in the next few weeks. I've got crops started that can handle frost but for peppers and tomatoes and such, I always wait well into May to put them out.

    1. Just checked - the avg last frost date for my area (but data is old, back to 2005) is April 30th. I think I'll give it that extra week or so just to be safe.

  4. we just got a bucket load of snow over night so I am thinking our frost date is going to be a little later this year :)

  5. Depending on which source you check, I'm either zone 5b or 6a, with about a May 10 last frost date. I adjusted my planting schedule to move that date out two weeks. So far that seems to have been a good choice, although next year I will start the peppers earlier to account for the slow germination.

  6. We are finally having some spring-like weather around here. I didn't start to document our weather (as it relates to the garden) until last year, but it seems that our spring this year was cooler and later than normal. Our last frost date is the same as David's - around May 10 - I guess I'll be finding out how accurate that is as the years progress.