The Q&A Archives: Last Frost

Question: I would like to start vegetable seedlings indoors. I know I should start them 6-8 weeks before the last frost. When would this be in my location?

Answer: There are no guarantees, but generally, your last frost falls around April 20-30. You can take steps to protect them in early spring, such as using fabric row covers over hoops, hot caps or cloches, and black plastic mulch, which helps the soil retain the sun's heat. From personal experience, I caution you from starting seedlings too early - for instance, I give tomatoes only 4 weeks head start - since they grow very quickly in the ideal conditions of warmth and light under a growlamp. If this is your first experience with seedstarting, you may want to experiment - start them at different times and see what happens. <br><br>Be sure to "harden-off" your seedlings before transplanting them to the garden. Hardening off is a process of graduallyexposing them to the elements and takes about a week. Place them outside for a couple of hours the first day, in a place sheltered from wind and strong sunlight. Increase the time and reduce protection each day, and they should toughen right up!

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