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Jack Frost is scheduled to leave soon

Brief by Central Staff

Climate – May 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s nearly time to quit drooling over the seed catalogs and get out there with shovel, hoe, rake, and spud bar. But when is it safe to plant?

In general, sensitive plants like tomatoes can go out nine days after the average date of last killing frost. And when is that? We’ve got the answer if you live in some towns:

Locale Elev. Last First Days

BUENA VISTA 7,954 June 6 Sept. 14 100

CAÑON CITY 5,332 May 2 Oct. 13 165

CRESTONE 8,000 June 6 Sept. 6 92

FAIRPLAY 9,953 June 14 Aug. 31 78

GUNNISON 7,703 June 27 Aug. 22 56

LEADVILLE 10,152 June 19 Aug. 26 68

SAGUACHE 7,697 June 3 Sept. 16 105

SALIDA 7,033 May 31 Sept. 12 104

WESTCLIFFE 7,888 June 10 Sept. 13 95

WHITEPINE 9,900 July 2 Sept. 4 64

As with all average numbers, these can vary considerably in a real year subject to El Niño, sunspot variations, ozone holes, and the like. And even after Jack Frost makes his seasonal retirement, there are hailstorms.

Your best bet is to consult an experienced gardener who lives near you. Next best is to contact your local county extension service office.

If neither course seems possible, just keep good records as you lose a few bean crops and tomato sets to surprise frosts, late and early, and in a few years, you’ll be an experienced gardener and your neighbors can ask you.