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If you don't have the lights there is little or no reason to start now; it is still really early for Zone 5 gardeners. My date is Apr 15th; Gixx call your extension service and ask. They will do you better than a month long window you will get an approximate day, anyway. And almanacs are surprisingly good for the most part, especially on generalities like frost dates...

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Scott Reil

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gixxerific
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Rainbow same here I always put them out early and had the first plants out of people I know. Mine were 5-10 times bigger that my 2 neighbors last year.

Scott those dates are from my Local Ext agency. I don't think you can nail it down to on date. I found another site [url=https://davesgarden.com/guides/freeze-frost-dates/index.php?q=63385&submit=Go]Daves Garden[/url] that has it broke down in percentages. So March 30 is says a 90 % chance of frost and on Apr 24 a 10 % chance (if you go to that site I would be the Warrenton choice). So I think I gonna go with Apr 11 as planting time I will start my seedlings based on that date which will be about the mid of Feb. Sound right to everyone?

By the way Daves Garden is a pretty cool site you can obviously find your frost dates as well as it having a fairly extensive section you could use to identify bugs, birds, plants and other useful gardening related goodies.

:Edit: Oh yeah Scott I do have some grow lights and a way to heat them so hopefully everything will come out all peachy, or in this case tomatoey :lol:

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One more thing I am going to start another succession 2 weeks later just in case there are problems. I have plenty of seed what i don't use My friends get, bonus for them

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As far as putting them out, you can't just go by the calendar... that's why they were giving you a range of dates, because every year is different. I start the seeds by the calendar, because in February you can't know what April will bring. But in late March and early April, I am watching the 10 day weather forecasts like a hawk. (And some times 15 day --www.accuweather.com has a 15 day forecast).

That helps me figure out to do, and when to be hardening things off and when to be bringing them back in.

By late March I have trays and trays of tomatoes and other stuff that could go in the ground whenever the ground and weather cooperate. I do a lot of bringing trays in and out in those last weeks.

I also have a pop up greenhouse, that I got super cheap at a discontinued sale at big box store. It is NOT very good, not at all air tight, but provides some protection. And I have a regular metal shelving unit that I wrap in plastic to make a mini greenhouse (with velcro down the front for access)... All of this is just to get the seedlings started being used to outside temps with some protection, in those last weeks.
(And by then the 16' under grow lights is way too full and I have to have somewhere to put things!)

(It's a kind of craziness, I know :) -- it all sounds kind of bizarre to me as I write it out, oh well)

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I feel ya RG I know that date isn't set in stone. That is why I'm going for the middle and also I'm going to start another set 2 weeks after the first just in case. I went with the middle in case it is all good I figure if the weather is not cooperating another 2 weeks in the house won't kill them, I hope.

To be quite honest I'm an idiot. I realized last night that I have been looking at the date all wrong. In my notes I have 4/30 written down for the last frost which is April 30. For some reason every time I looked at it I was thinking March. I should know that Mar is 3 not 4 my birthday is in Mar. Dohhhhh!

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Don't feel bad, I just erred the other direction.
For some reason I thought April 15 was frost free.... Nahh that is pay the tax man day...
My frost free hits March 23.... I gotta get those seedlings started for cabbages and broccoli... and get out there with the really early crops... gee running late already!
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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rainbowgardener
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Well interestingly enough here our average (50% of the time) frost free date IS tax day. But 90% frost free isn't until 1 May.

But of course as I've said elsewhere, those averages are based on 100+ yrs of data. In these global warming times, you can count on it being earlier (i.e. less than 50% of the time will we have frost after tax day).

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After tax day, 2009 we had an ice storm, and it literally killed all the blooms on the peach trees.
So, you just never know...
But, I will hedge my bet, and use tunnels to regulate the garden..
Can't help the fruit trees though.
Crazy weatther...
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!

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Alrighty than, I think I have it all ready to go. Using May 1 as a general last frost I just finished putting together a calender that has when I should plant seed and when i should transplant. Of course I know this is just a basic plan and weather at the time will dictate what really happens. I still have a few, not many, other things I need to plan out but it's about 90%+ done for. I feel so much better now.

Now to put together a site plan. :shock: I have graph paper that I am going to get a rough idea of where I will put everything, well the most important things. I will base it on last years placements and plant accordingly so as to not put anything in the same place.

You should have seen me I had about 6 different references that I was using to put this all together. My wife said "Look at you your so cute" at least she's on board with me.

I need some sleep now.

Thanks to everyone for bearing with me and good luck to you all this coming season, it's gonna be a good one I can feel it. :D

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Ozark Lady wrote:After tax day, 2009 we had an ice storm, and it literally killed all the blooms on the peach trees.
So, you just never know...
But, I will hedge my bet, and use tunnels to regulate the garden..
Can't help the fruit trees though.
Crazy weatther...
Maybe you could use a floating row cover this year on the peach trees. :P :lol:

unionturf
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Wow, great information...

After the last 2 years of having crappy tomatoes I'm hoping that growing my own from seed will help make a better crop, thanks for the info, I may have more questions shortly.

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According to the resource that Gix put up, my 50% date is Apr. 30 and my 90% frost-free date is May 16.

However, last year, a freeze came along and killed the cucumbers on May 18. Now, I didn't have any toms or peppers planted, so I don't know how well thy would have survived the frost. It was after this that I decided not to plant any toms or pepper out until about the end of May this year.

On this thread, it looks like a lot you with similar climates to mine put out your tomatoes as early as the middle or end of April, with good results. Maybe last year was a fluke for me. I think I'm going to follow your leads and set some tomato plants out early (end of Apr.) and see how they do. Maybe I'll put some milk jugs over them. I don't know how effective it would be to put peppers out early, though. Anyone ever tried that?

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garden5 wrote:According to the resource that Gix put up, my 50% date is Apr. 30 and my 90% frost-free date is May 16.

However, last year, a freeze came along and killed the cucumbers on May 18. Now, I didn't have any toms or peppers planted, so I don't know how well thy would have survived the frost. It was after this that I decided not to plant any toms or pepper out until about the end of May this year.

On this thread, it looks like a lot you with similar climates to mine put out your tomatoes as early as the middle or end of April, with good results. Maybe last year was a fluke for me. I think I'm going to follow your leads and set some tomato plants out early (end of Apr.) and see how they do. Maybe I'll put some milk jugs over them. I don't know how effective it would be to put peppers out early, though. Anyone ever tried that?
I. am starting 2 different sets of Tom's, 1 for backup just in case. About the peppers I would wait for those maybe even 2 weeks or more after the last frost.

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gixxerific wrote:
garden5 wrote:According to the resource that Gix put up, my 50% date is Apr. 30 and my 90% frost-free date is May 16.

However, last year, a freeze came along and killed the cucumbers on May 18. Now, I didn't have any toms or peppers planted, so I don't know how well thy would have survived the frost. It was after this that I decided not to plant any toms or pepper out until about the end of May this year.

On this thread, it looks like a lot you with similar climates to mine put out your tomatoes as early as the middle or end of April, with good results. Maybe last year was a fluke for me. I think I'm going to follow your leads and set some tomato plants out early (end of Apr.) and see how they do. Maybe I'll put some milk jugs over them. I don't know how effective it would be to put peppers out early, though. Anyone ever tried that?
I. am starting 2 different sets of Tom's, 1 for backup just in case. About the peppers I would wait for those maybe even 2 weeks or more after the last frost.
I think you're right, Gix. To my understanding, peppers really don't do much unless the soil is warm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember reading that if you set out peppers in cool soil, it may actually cause them to perform worse throughout the season than if they were planted in warm soil. It was something to that effect.

I don't think it would be a bad idea to lay some clear plastic over the soil maybe two weeks prior to planting so as to warm it up; milk jugs might work also. I might just set out a pepper plant or two early using this method and see how they do compared to the main crop.

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garden5 wrote: I think you're right, Gix. To my understanding, peppers really don't do much unless the soil is warm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember reading that if you set out peppers in cool soil, it may actually cause them to perform worse throughout the season than if they were planted in warm soil. It was something to that effect.

I don't think it would be a bad idea to lay some clear plastic over the soil maybe two weeks prior to planting so as to warm it up; milk jugs might work also. I might just set out a pepper plant or two early using this method and see how they do compared to the main crop.
I would whole heartily agree. I just read the same thing in a book over the weekend. Peppers are weird they almost seem to like poor soil and just all around bad care, to a certain extent of course.

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