frost free dates

IowaGirl(5)March 20, 2004

I checked several sites and am seeing differing information for when Iowa's frost free dates are. Some say mid-April and others say mid-May. I am starting seedlings indoors for the first time and am unsure about when I should be planting them outside. Does anyone have recommendations?

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I always figure here in northern Iowa that nothing goes in before the middle of May and tomatoes and tender stuff goes in after June 1st. Every year is different in Iowa and I just go with the flow. I don't start seeds before March 15 but much before that they just get leggy.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 12:15PM
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Maude_IA(z5-SE Iowa)

I agree, except that in the southern half of the state, and in a sheltered spot, things are usually safe from frost by mid-April, and tomatoes are OK by May 10.

It depends on where you live, and what the garden site is like - sheltered from wind? high ground? full sun? near buildings?
Those things can make a difference.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 4:42PM
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IowaGirl, I don't know in what part of the state you live. In Scott County our last frost date is May 10 to May 15.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2004 at 7:53PM
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marilou(z4 IA)

I think you're all pretty much right! :-) The Extension Service says the last average frost date in Northern Iowa is May 10-15, April 30 to May 5 in Central Iowa, and April 20 to 25 in Southern Iowa. But microclimates will affect the date. Tender perennials shouldn't be put out until late May. Sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry, though, and not tempt fate. Some of those dates are a bit early for me.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 2:26PM
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Thanks for everyone's input. I am in mid-eastern Iowa and my yard is fairly sheltered from the wind. Sounds like it's probably better to go a little later than too early. It's hard not to get eager about it especially when we have those warm, sunny days.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2004 at 2:38PM
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