Date of Last Frost

truckaduck(5)January 25, 2013

Hello, I am in Denver. I have many questions! When instructions say to plant "after the last frost", when is this? Does it matter that it may snow after the last frost? Is there anything that can be planted directly outside BEFORE the last frost? Thank you!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

When instructions say to plant "after the last frost", when is this?

Hello, depending exactly where you are in Denver, some time around the first or second week of May.

Does it matter that it may snow after the last frost?

Oh, yes.

Is there anything that can be planted directly outside BEFORE the last frost?

If you are speaking of seeds, yes. Usually the package will say 'sow outside as soon as the soil can be worked' or some such.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
flwrs_n_co(4)

I've lived in the southwest suburbs of Denver for about 28 years. I'm not an avid gardener, but I do plant annuals, perennials, and herbs every year. I always use Mother's Day as my marker for planting, although we have had snows in late May and even early June a few times since we moved here. I keep tarps handy in case there's a snow or freeze after the planting is done. The hardest part is waiting for Mother's Day when there's a mild spring and all my neighbors are planting in late April/early May. Good luck, truckaduck!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Truck!

It depends on what it is you're wanting to plant!

If it's "warm season" veggies, they can't take frost at all and would need to be well protected if we got down around or below freezing after they were in the ground. But "warm season" crops don't do well in cold soil and conditions, so it doesn't really help to plant them out "too soon" anyway!

"Cool season" veggies (peas, spinach, cole crops, radishes, +) can take frosts (and snow) IF they're well hardened off before they're put into the ground.

Things like hardy perennials & herbs (and trees and bushes) can also take frost and snow as long as they've been well hardened off before planting. If any of those things are purchased locally at a garden center where they've been grown outside, they should already be hardened off. But if you pick up something at a big box store or somewhere else where their plants are shipped in from another state (often California or somewhere on the West Coast), they will NOT be hardened off and you'd need to do it yourself in order to be able to safely plant them out.

So it just depends on what you're thinking of! Hardy stuff (that does NOT include the "Hardy Boy" brand, which is just a marketing name!) can definitely be planted out when there's still "danger of frost" as long as it's been adequately acclimated.

Welcome to RMG,
Skybird

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 2:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
truckaduck(5)

Thanks everybody! All of this input is helpful! I will indeed have a tough time waiting for Mother's Day... I'm pretty excited. But I think I'll do some snow peas and lettuce from seed, earlier than that, per your advice. Woohoo! Thank you again, and I'm sure I'll be back with more questions.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2013 at 9:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
david52 Zone 6

Going by good ol' folklore, I plant peas and favas on Good Friday. Some people also plant potatoes then as well. You can plant beets, chard, and spinach early as well.

But if you plant chard and spinach in the fall (late August here), and let 'em send down tap roots and over-winter, you get much better results.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 11:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
truckaduck(5)

Thank you.... we were going to plant beets, potatoes, and spinach as well. Good to know we can do it early! As for planting spinach in the fall, do you refrain from harvesting that season to allow them to over-winter in a complete state?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

This might be helpful! It's a chart from the Tom Clothier site showing optimum soil temperature for various veggies.

Example: You could plant parsnips when the soil was 32 degrees and you'd get 82% germination--but it would take 172 days for them to germinate!!! If you plant them at the optimum temperature, 68 degrees, you'd get 89% germination--in 14 days! But you could also plant them 10 degrees cooler at 59 degrees and still get 85% germination in just 19 days.

So this gives you an idea of which ones can be planted earliest and approximately how warm the soil needs to be to get the best results.

As for me, I have a LONG way to go before I'm ready to plant ANYTHING! But, since I always get them in too late, I'm planning to start some lettuce and spinach in big pots this year while it's still cold enough out to be sure I actually get something to eat!

Happy dreaming,
Skybird

P.S. The Tom Clothier site has GREAT germination info on perennials and annuals--and lots of other good stuff too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Germination Temperature

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 3:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
david52 Zone 6

As for planting spinach in the fall, do you refrain from harvesting that season to allow them to over-winter in a complete state?

The times I've done it, I've been so swamped with other stuff that I didn't pick any leaves in the fall. They manage to stay green most the winter, getting a bit crispy on the edges. I just mulched the bed and kept it moist, gave it a shot of high N fertilizer in March, and was picking gobs of fresh spinach in April.

If you're anywhere near deer, they like spinach too. And they'll clean you out overnight.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
truckaduck(5)

David we are going to try this, definitely. Thanks so much. And Skybird, thank you for the link. This is way more scientific than anything I've attempted in the past and I want to increase my knowledge!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
truckaduck(5)

Thank you Magnolia!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 11:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

A while ago someone posted a link to a really handy gardening calendar. If you plug in your first and last frost dates it will tell you what to plant and when, even when to start seeds indoors. With this link and the link above (NOAA) you can tell what you should do when.

I have say that I have always used the "old wives tale" that flwrs_n_co mentioned: Mother's Day!

Then link below also gives first/last frost dates:

http://www.climate-charts.com/States/Colorado.html

Here is a link that might be useful: GrowGuide Seed Starting Planner

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 3:25PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
RMG - How do I do it -- Where do I find it thread!
Hi all, I just thought I'd start a thread here for...
Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado
Raised Bed - How to Deal with Dogs
We purchased a house a couple years ago that had a...
Sean Hull
The South Window
And, the greenhouse bench: Steve's digit
digit
Online source for Jamesia americana?
I'm a central Washington / eastern Cascade Mountains...
Sagebrush Spring
Bits and pieces
To share interesting stuff you just found out. Generous...
david52 Zone 6
Sponsored Products
Safavieh Newport NPT430B 3'9" x 5'9" Black Rug
$296.48 | PlushRugs
Custom Kenter Classic Chair
Home Decorators Collection
Delight Area Rug
Home Decorators Collection
Crystorama Palla Antique Silver Three-Light Semi-Flush Mount Light
$398.00 | LuxeDecor
Nelson Select Tray
Design Within Reach
Marina 7 Piece Outdoor Patio Teak Sofa Set in Natural White
$1,997.00 | LexMod
Trend Lighting TT6065 Impression Table Lamp - TT6065
$290.00 | Hayneedle
Furniture of America Alliani Rectangular Dining Table - Walnut - IDF-3318T
$294.26 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™