Turning point: when is it safe to plant a garden?

Spring in the vegetable patch or in the flower garden is a succession of skilfully orchestrated events. The goal is to get things done with the warming season, taking into account the weather forecast and, because these are only forecasts, the average spring warming trends where you garden.

Many gardeners use Memorial Day as a turning point in their gardening calendar. But the weather on Memorial Day in San Diego is very different from that on Memorial Day in Concord, NH.

Last murderous frost

A better measure is “the average date of the last killing frost in the spring” where you live. Note that this is just what it says, an average. Whatever the year, this date can be earlier or later.

You can determine this average date of the last deadly freeze online at various sites where you just type in your zip code. Or contact your local County Cooperative Extension office for this information.

Some like it hot

Vegetables and annual flowers can be grouped into tender and cold-hardy varieties. Cold-hardy vegetables include onions, lettuce, arugula, parsley, spinach, radish, carrot, parsnip, and cabbage and its relatives, such as kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. Snapdragon, pansy, petunia, roses, and verbena are cold hardy annual flowers.

Leon E. Hill

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