new_gardener32
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when to plant and harvest based on average frost

I'm at 45 N latitude. I was just looking at the average frost dates. It was about late April to mid-May for spring and mid to late September to early October in the fall. Should I plant and harvest right before or after these dates, or when do you plant and harvest?

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Look at this thread for when to plant:

As for when to harvest, that would depend on the crop and when they are *ready* to harvest, not on average frost date, though that can be a secondary indicator for frost sensitive crop as well as fall crop that benefits from frost.

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rainbowgardener
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Sorry, there's no easy answer. Average last frost date is just that, average. My average last frost is mid-April, meaning half the years have frost after that. My 90% last frost date is Apr 29, meaning one in year in ten there might still be a frost after that. (You can find that data here:
https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/fre ... efrost.pdf)

So around those times, I watch the 10 day forecast closely. It also depends on what you are planting. Some things are much more sensitive to cold/ frost than others. Monitoring soil temperature helps a lot too. Squashes and other warm weather crops really need the soil warmed up.

And then we still end up guessing a bit and maybe having to cover things if it gets cold again.
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hendi_alex
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Much depends upon what you are planting. Cool weather crops such as lettuce, sweet peas, arugula, even corn, can be planted anywhere for a couple of weeks to a month or more in front of the last frost date. While tender plants such as tomatoes, egg plant, squash, and cucumbers can go into the ground as soon as danger of frost is over, some plants won't really do well until the ground temperature warms to over 60 degrees or warmer. Beans especially seem to dislike cool soil temperatures, so I usually plant them last, giving the soil an extra week or two to warm up. If trying to jump the season with beans, I'll plant several succession plantings, just in case the earliest doesn't do well.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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