How do I use my average first and last frost dates?
Helping home gardeners grow their best garden is our mission. To do that, we suggest using your average last frost date to help determine the best time to sow your seeds. Using your average last frost dates is different from referencing your USDA Hardiness Zone. While the hardiness zone does tell you your average coldest winter temperature, it doesn't tell you much more about your climate or growing season. Your average last frost date is the date that there is a 50% chance that frost is over until the end of your season. This date guides your sowing calendar, and in short-season areas, it may guide your variety choices. Check your seed packets or our Indoor and Outdoor Sowing Guides to fill in your sowing calendar.
How do my average last and first frost dates help me choose varieties?
Once you know your average last frost date, you can count days until your average first frost date to see if your growing season is long enough to grow the variety, using the days to maturity. Our vegetable packets list the "days to maturity" which means the number of days it will take to produce fruit with the right average temperature and conditions.