takes a little while to get used to which is which, and how best they fit in with your planting schedule.
Though the weather is never exactly the same every year, it helps to know a plants hardiness. Don't worry—you'll learn it in time. This is not an exact science so relax if you're a beginner and just enjoy the ride. Dont expect to find a perfect list because how well plants thrive differs in different parts of the country and of course, different years, sometimes for no explainable reason. If you lose a few squares of something one year it's no big deal. It doesn't mean you're not going to be a great gardener.
Although people like to celebrate the first day of spring (March 20th) according to the calendar, plants don't give a hoot about our calendar— they respond to weather. In the spring we need to know the date of the last frost in our area. That will help us determine when to plant. Each different crop—whether cool-season or warm-season—will need to be planted so many weeks before or after that last day of frost.
For plants, the fall growing season begins not with the first calendar day of fall (September 23rd), but with the first frost and continues until the first freeze of the fall. The average dates of your first and last frost depend on where you live in the country and the regional and local variations of weather. All we can do is go by the past and hope it will be similar this year. To help, the government collects dates for your area and calculates the average date from the past 100 years. Of course, the average is only a guide.
How do you find your local frost dates? The Internet is the best resource for detailed information. You can also call your local county extension agent or most area nurseries. To find your local extension agent, look in the Government blue pages for your county in your telephone book, then look for the heading "Extension of [your state] University.'
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