There is so much advice out there for when to plant. If you plant too early in spring, you risk a late frost killing your seedlings. If you plant too late, you might end up with a very late harvest. If there is an early frost in fall, your late harvest of fruits and veggies could be lost. Timing is everything when it comes to Hedgewitch gardening!
Most perennials aren’t damaged by frost, but if you’re planting vegetables and some fruits, you'll need to become very familiar with these dates. Many vegetables and annual flowers cannot tolerate even a light frost. On the back of every seed packet, you’ll find "plant after last frost date," or “start seeds 8 weeks before the last frost date.” What does that even mean? And how do you find these dates?
As part of your Hedgewitch Permaculture garden planning, and before you plant, find the frost dates for your region, meaning when the last frost will occur in the spring and when the first frost will happen in the fall or winter. A frost can damage new or established plants. But first, you need to understand exactly what the frost dates mean. What are frost dates?
Temperatures between 32°F (0°C) and 28°F (-2°C) is considered a light frost. A hard frost is temperatures below 28°F (-2°C). Most leafy vegetables, peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and leeks handle hard frosts fairly well. Plant these crops earlier in the spring and fall without the risk of damage by frost.
Knowing where your first and last frost dates fall is essential to your gardening success. Most gardeners are a bit of a weather junkie, including me! Being attuned to weather reports in your area and even keeping records yourself, helps avoid damage to or losing your fruits, veggies, and tender plants.