I found a great link for average frost dates for each state and even Canada:
I may be able to recalculate my "Days 'till Planting" estimate since the one i use is anecdotal based on what i have been told since i was little.
"Don't plant anything until Memorial Day weekend".
I just kinda went with this, but the more i study it, it seems that a number of things can be planted well before that date. Seeds cane even be sown before then also. It never meant anything to me because i usually didn't have a lot of luck in tiny spaces, and had seedlings eaten by slugs and replaced them with nursery-grown. Or if i did use my own seedlings and they survived the slugs (usually tomatoes) we weren't dependent on it. We won't really be dependent on it this year if all goes well, but i have read that a good sized, well tended home garden could save a family of 4 an estimated $500-1,000 a year in food costs...and that is the low end estimate i remember reading. From a book more than 10 years old. Yes there is cost outlay in supplies and tools, but most tools can last many years and supplies can also...
i'm thinking of my Remay...
i'm not so sure that will last a second season, but it might surprise me- but if it saves me even half its cost in what i would spend on bug chemicals - it will be nice cause last time i did get a garden going the sweet peppers were colonized by earwigs, the tomatoes got hornworms (stripped the plants bare in 3 days) in late July- too late to replant...
I should have known better than to try a garden that year for the rain and me, still not fully recovered... i hope i can manage this year, that's where the older daughter will have to step in.
My goodness, all this planning and i don't even know if i am physically capable of doing it. I must be crazy. *sigh*
...anyway, frost dates. I just went by them and didn't know quite why. But i like the seed starting... this is something my grandparents did, but my parents didn't.. We always had a garden when i was growing up. I remember weeding and picking green beans in the hot sun when i was expected to do it as chore work... and i remember pinching tomatoes and a cucumber or two when i was out playing but didn't want to admit i was hungry lest i be expected to come inside and sit at the table then help clean it up.
Uggh, its a nice day. i can't focus.
So, i'm learning that with things like broccoli and carrots and kale, frost dates might not mean all that much even up here in zone 5. I realized that some seeds can be planted outside weeks before the last frost date (and i don't mean just radishes) and with the use of low tunnel or hoop houses, the types of early seed increases.
I think its pretty exciting to realize that my limited growing season isn't set in stone as rigidly as i had thought.
And i would like to be able to have as much of this garden understanding as i can so that if we do need to depend on it some day, it won't feel like a reality check and it will almost come naturally.
Today's Seed Starting:
Kohlrabi, Purple Vienna- Pinetree
Kale, Red Russian- Pinetree
Italian Oregano- organic, Park Seeds
Chives, organic- Park Seeds
Burdock, Takinogawa Long- Pinetree
Italian Parsley- Richters
Winter Savory- Richters
I think it might be safe to sow the French Marigolds, i may get to that tonight, or first chance i get tomorrow.
I read another interesting tidbit today. To plant peppers in threes.... when the seedlings get their first set of true leaves, snip the weakest of the three, and let the remaining two grow as one plant. The leaves protect the fruit from sun scald better than when grown alone. I guess the two plants don't compete with each other. I think i will try this.
I have cleaning to do now and the baby-naps are getting shorter and shorter! :)