Frost dates, germination rates and the Year of the Pumpkin

Fri. Apr. 5, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Frost dates and the Year of the Pumpkin

Throwing seeds of lettuce and radishes on your soil right now is fine, they germinate in soil temps of about 35.  

Mesclun mix

Most cool season crops germinate when soil and air temperatures are at least 40 degrees and above. Those crops include carrots, beets and cole crops like broccoli and cauliflower.     Seed germination guide from the University of Nebraska. Please note the MINIMUM, OPTIMUM and MAXIMUM rates vary considerably.  Your best option is somewhere between the first two!  

Carrots ‘Purple Dragon’ in Lakeville raised bed

Last “actual” frost dates can vary by nearly a month!  So, they take an average to estimate.  In zone 4, where I live, has been May 15th.  Colder zones are generally looking at 2 weeks later.

Here is a tool from the National Gardening Association  where you use your zipcode to narrow down the frost date.  PLEASE keep in mind that this is an average, which means we could still face frost.  Another site to check is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The National Garden Bureau has named 2019 the Year of the Pumpkin!  A fruit, if you will, that does NOT like cool temps.  In fact, it prefers soil at 70 degrees!

Pumpkins and other crops in the Cucurbitaceae family originated in Central America, where Native Americans would either roast and consume strips of pumpkin flesh, or dry the skins and weave them into mats. When European colonists arrived in the Americas, they prepared a dish believed to be a precursor of modern pumpkin pie. They cut the top off the pumpkin, removed the seeds, and filled the inside with milk, spices, and honey before baking it over hot ashes.

Sugar Baby pumpkins

Eating pumpkin provides numerous health benefits: they are high in fiber, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B and C while being low in calories, fat, and sodium. Pumpkin is excellent in baked goods, soups, casseroles, pasta, and sauces. Cook with pumpkin throughout the year to support heart health and healthy blood pressure.

My Fall display 2013 – one year after buying my home…  a lot has changed! The pumpkins came from a local eco friendly nursery called Eco Gardens!
2018 fence garden