This post was originally publised on 2/25/20 and updated on 3/16/21
Two very important dates in the gardening world are definitely the first and last frosts of the season (click here to read our post about the first frost)! The last frost date represents the beginning of the gardening season for most, while the first frost marks the end of the main gardening season. It’s important to know the frost dates in your area so you can plan your planting accordingly.
Find Your Last Frost Date
To determine the last frost date in your area, all you need to do is a quick google search. Just type in “your city last frost date”. Several websites will come up, all with varying dates. I like to look at a few of the results to compare the dates. Then, I pick the latest out of them all to base my planting schedule off of. Here is a chart that I found from The National Gardening Association for Virgina Beach.
Last Frost in Hampton Roads
From my research, our estimated last frost date, here in Hampton Roads, should be no later than April 7th. It will likely be earlier, but I always go with the latest estimated frost to be on the safe side. You don’t want all your tender seeds to fail because a frost came through.
So if you live in the Hampton Roads area, for this year, 2021, you should have started seeds around February 24th to be right on schedule. This is about 6 weeks before the last frost date (April 7th), which is the recommended amount of time needed to start a majority of seeds indoors. Get them started indoors 6 weeks before you plant them outside and they’re guaranteed to be established enough to transplant.
This isn’t to say that you can’t plant seeds later. This is just optimal for a longer growing/harvesting season. Last year, a friend of mine sowed all of her seeds right into the ground in late May. They all germinated, and she ended up with a very successful garden still. But she had a late start on harvesting and wasn’t able to really harvest anything until mid-July. This year, she would like to be harvesting by the beginning of June.