On October 15th it snowed here in Stamford, CT (zone 6). OK, it didn’t look quite like this photo but it definitely snowed. While it’s early for snow here, it made me realize the end of the growing season is right around the corner.
The growing season is bookmarked by two very important dates - the last frost date and the first frost date. The problem with these dates is they can vary widely from year to year. Here in coastal Connecticut, the CT DEP says the average first frost date is October 19th. But other sources put our first frost date as early as October 2nd.
In addition to signaling the end of the typical growing season, the first frost also signals the start of the spring-bulb planting season. Most bulbs like to be planted in soil that is about 55 degrees. Bulbs need cool soil to set roots before the winter arrives. Once you get your first frost, you have about eight weeks after the first frost to get our spring-flowering bulbs in the ground. So here in Stamford, CT, we have until about mid-December to plant spring-flowering bulbs.
So while the first frost can be a little bittersweet, it really is a harbinger of the winter lull in my garden but also the first indication that spring really is just around the corner. And with spring comes the anticipation of another growing season.