Freeze! Everything you need to know about Frost and Growing Seasons

I really can’t believe this is the last weekend of October already! I have accomplished quite a bit of what I wanted to do this growing season, so I am very happy for that. I still have to do a couple of things, but all in all, I feel accomplished. When I was planting bulbs a few weeks ago, I was talking about how you can plant bulbs right up until the ground freezes. Well, what does that mean exactly?

  • Freeze– when the ground turns solid. This happens when the air temperature drops down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit ( 0 degrees Celsius) or colder.

Please don’t get it confused with this:


This is what you call frost. Frost is an ice coating on the ground that usually happens at night as temperatures dip down to or close to freezing, but there is still plenty of humidity in the air. The above picture happened two weeks ago for me. Frosts happen in early spring and late fall; the beginning and end of the growing season. Frost is part of the freezing process, and it will kill any delicate plants you have planted. That’s why you usually hear the weather person on television say to “cover up any tender vegetation” you may have if a frost is looming. I remember as a child watching my parents take big, old sheets and covering up plants, mainly in the spring, since they had just planted them.

So, what exactly is a growing season? A growing season is a period of time in every year that allows for the most growth in your plants. A “frost free” time, if you will. And growing seasons vary for everyone in every different part of the country, and even the world! And now that you know what a growing season is, you will also need to know your regional hardiness zone. There are many factors that make up your region’s hardiness zone, but one of the main factors is just how cold your area gets. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map is a great one to check out, and once you find out your hardiness zone, you will be able to purchase plants and seeds that will thrive in your zone.

An interesting thing to note is that even though I now reside about 1 hour and a half north from where I grew up, my hardiness zone is different from my parents. My parents reside within zone 5a, whereas I now reside within zone 6a. Why is that? Well, I am surrounded by two huge bodies of water, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. I am going to have warmer temperatures than my parents who reside further south and further interior. They get much colder and much more snow than I do, believe it or not.

Whatever your little part of the world, you will be able to garden with optimum results if you know your growing season and hardiness zone. Taking the time to find out this important information will help you better understand what plants you can grow and how you can get the most out of your growing season!