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Soil temps, not frost-free date, tell us when to sow

Knowing when to sow what in the garden can be confusing.

Seed packets usually direct us to sow a certain amount of weeks before or after a frost-free date in the spring, or give us specific ranges of dates with a thumbnail of the USDA zone map.

But every year, the weather is different. In some years, we may never see a frost in parts of Texas. In other years, we may have a cold front plunge temperatures into the 20s -- in April.

Knowing when the date of the average last or first frost is only half the story when it comes to sowing seeds.

What also helps us to know when to sow is the temperature of the soil. No matter what date it is, if the soil temps aren't right, we'll just be throwing away our seeds if we sow them.

Novice Texas farmer Marshall Hinsley has learned several lessons from the unpredictable climate, and now he's more interested in how warm the soil is than what day it is when it comes to starting the growing season.

His findings are the topic of this article at Dallas Culture Map.


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