The National Weather Service
For our readers in the United States, the best source for this information is the National Weather Service (NWS). If you are not in the United States, you might have this information available to you from your local weather service, just poke around a little.
I am a big fan of the National Weather Service. Yes, you can get information from other sources, but those sources are typically getting their information from the NWS and then they just repackage (and in many cases selling) the information.
Check out the video above for a simple walk-through of how to find the data!
Giving yourself a buffer
Before you start using dates based on averages for your planting guide, be sure to adjust for the “what if”. What if a freeze comes early, or what if some frost comes ahead of the freeze? Take whatever risk you feel is acceptable, but perhaps giving yourself an extra week of “oops” is a good idea.
Putting the Information to use
Now that you know when to expect a freeze, you can plan ahead. Since we are well into our planting season here locally, I will use an autumn crop as an example. Let’s say you want some winter squash, such as some Spaghetti Squash.
The variety we recently purchased says it needs 90 days from planting to harvest. If we want to get the most out of our growing season, we would head to the calendar and plan this out.
First, find the date of your first freeze for the season. Now, go backwards 1 week (your “oops” buffer). Then count back 90 days. There you have it! The date which should be the absolute last day you sow that variety in your area.
If you want a longer harvest, and your growing zone permits the time, you could use this to schedule multiple plantings. This will help you spread out your harvests over a longer time – keeping your home full of fresh goodies longer.
Why not head over to our calendar here and see how we did this (Click Here). You can find our average first freeze on November 7th. Then look backwards to see when we should be planting Spaghetti Squash (We have this all set up for you as an example).
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