The trouble with moving to a new state and climate zone is that I can’t rely on what my mom or grandma have always done as far as gardening. Just because mom in zone 7A plants her peas in early march doesn’t mean that I should do the same. So I’ve been going back to the drawing boards trying to figure out when everything should be planted for my new Lexington, Kentucky gardening zone- 6A. Most plant descriptions recommend planting time based on when the last frost is expected. For example, I kept hearing that potatoes should be planted 2 weeks before the last frost date. But the last frost date for KY isn’t until May. It feels wrong to me to be planting potatoes in mid-April, though. By the time they really get growing it’ll be getting hot out, something that potatoes don’t like. Then I found this chart from NOAA. It has more information than I’d found before and now I see that though May 10 is the date given for a 10% chance of temps under 36, the 50/50 date for temps under 28 (called a last “freeze” vs “frost”) is April 3. Delicate plants should still be kept inside until the last light frost (36deg) has passed but for cool weather plants like potatoes, peas and many greens I *think* you can use the 50/50 last freeze date for planning. Which means that I should put my potatoes in the ground on March 20th which means that today I will be cutting my seed potatoes into chunks and setting them by a warm window to wake them up and get them ready for planting.
Next step: deciding where/how I want to plant them.
You can find the NOAA information for your town here.