What To Plant Outside Before Your Average Last Frost Date
I get it. We are all eager to start planting in our garden now that the weather is starting to warm up. However, it is still too early to plant most plants in the garden, as there still may be light frost ahead in the next coming weeks. There are a few things that we can plant, and actually should plant, before our last frost date. These things can withstand light frosts, and planting them before your last frost date ensures that you will be able to get a harvest quicker than other things in your garden.
Why plant before your last frost date?
Some plants require a period of cold in order to germinate, while other things benefit in flavour by having a period of cold at the start of their life.
What can I plant before a last frost?
Bok choy transplants
Blueberry and raspberry bushes
IMPORTANT: Now, you can plant these things outside before your last frost date because they can withstand light frosts, but this does not mean that you should fill up your garden with these items at this time. Although you may be eager to start planting, the reason you should not go wild and start planting everything is because there is still a possibility of having a hard frost (a frost that dips below 28 degrees F) and it would be devastating if you had a hard frost and all of your plants died. My recommendation would be to select a couple things that are easy to grow, like carrots, radishes, and cilantro, and start with those. This is a good way to get your feet wet as we approach the garden season.
This week I sowed carrot seeds and transplanted my cabbage starts. The reason I chose to transplant my cabbage this last week was because they are getting a bit too big to be kept indoors any longer. Remember in this post how tiny they were? Now look at them! They are like teenage cabbage plants!
For extra protection, after you have planted either seeds or transplants, you can put a layer of straw over your soil to protect it from any hard frosts. For transplants you can save milk jugs, or any type of large plastic bottles, cut them in half and place each half over your plants at night to protect them in case of cold weather.
Now that you have plants and/or seeds in the ground, you must remember to check on them daily to see if they need to be watered. For any transplant, if the soil is dry within the first two inches, the transplants need to be watered. If you have sown seeds, the soil must be kept moist for germination.
When to plant
Most seed packets should say how far before a last frost a seed can be planted. A good rule of thumb to follow is to plant when your soil is workable. This is usually around a month before your last frost date.
Planting in containers
If you do not have a garden and would like to sow seeds into pots, I recommend sowing your seeds closer to your last frost date. For example, carrots can be sowed 3-4 weeks before your last frost date. If you wish to plant in containers, I recommend sowing them 2 weeks before your last frost date since containers will remain cooler than something planted in a raised bed or in the ground.
Those few weeks before planting season can feel like forever, so getting to ease into the growing season by planting some things before your average last frost date feels like a treat! I wish this info has been helpful to you! Let me know in the comments if you plan on planting anything before your last frost date!
See you next Monday!