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What We Just Learned About Final Frost (& Happy Memorial Day)!

May 25, 2018
 

Growing up in the Finger Lakes of New York, high elevation Zone 5, I have the mantra of "Memorial Day is Final Frost" deeply embedded in my brain. I am constantly questioning my assumptions about myself and the world around me; this year I was inspired to dig a little deeper into this maxim. 

Are historic frost dates still relevant?

potatoes are ideally planted three weeks before final frost

Pouring over decades of temperature records in our county from the National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Association (which is totally free and fascinating, I highly recommend it!) from 1930 to present, here are my observations:

a) Our final frost dates have (surprisingly) remained fairly consistent, often occurring just before Memorial Day.

b) Even on years when final frost is weeks earlier than Memorial Day (like May 1st, 1970, which happens 2-3 times each decade), the night temps generally aren't out of the 40s consistently until around Memorial Day.

Which is all to say:

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