Frost Free Date

Written by Chris Campbell

Rain, snow, warm, cold, tornados or drought… Mother Nature just can’t decide this spring. But wherever you may be, I’m sure spring planting is at the front of your mind. J Schwanke and I just spent 3 days together giving our yearly “Annual Container and Outdoor Living” Seminars here in Lincoln, NE. Despite the cold and rainy weather, we had a great turn out and folks are ready to start planting.

It seems as we turn the calendar each year, individuals are more and more eager to “jump the gun” on planting. Remember to check with your local nursery or garden center to find out the suggested ‘Frost Free Date’ for your area. This is a guideline to help you know when the chance of frost should be over. Keep in mind that Mother Nature is a strange creature and no one can truly predict what she will do. But if you do find yourself “jumping the gun” on planting your annuals or Mother Nature throws you a curve ball after the frost free date and the night temperatures are going to drop below 50 degrees, you have a few options:

  1. If you have planted in containers and they are movable, bring them indoors or into a garage to protect the tender annuals from cold temperatures.
  2. If you have planted in the ground or your containers are too large to move, throw bed sheets over your annuals to protect them at night.
  3. If you have planted vegetables or seedlings in your garden there are also row covers, hot caps and water walls to protect those tender plants.

Just remember that no matter what the weather is like now, spring WILL come… sometimes we just have to be a little patient.