Last Frost Dates UK | When To Get Your Vegetables Outside
Knowing just the right time to plant your plants and veggies in the UK can be imperative to yielding an excellent crop. However, short of constantly checking the weather, it can be difficult to know when the last frost of the winter will be. Our short guide on the last frost dates, UK will give you everything you need to know so you can prepare to get out and get planting!
What Is The Last Frost Date?
The last frost date is a date which is given to be considered as the last time an overnight frost will occur in your local area. Across the UK, various dates are given and there is a lot of mystery surrounding the ‘true’ last frost date. Just think about the following considerations.
If you take a look around the internet, you will quickly learn that there is never one set last frost date; at least not one that makes much sense. This is because nobody can truly know the last date of frost every year. It will differ. Although, with that in mind, there is a time of year where you might start thinking about preparing to start planting your veggies.
What’s more, different areas of the UK will have different last frost dates. If you attempted to compare the temperature Cornwall coast dates with the last frost of Inverness then you’d find a serious difference. Each area will have a last frost date that may fall up to two weeks outside of its opposite extreme.
Calculating the last frost dates takes some time but there has been quite a lot of research into this by avid gardeners and many are now confident in their ability to correctly predict the last frost with great accuracy. That being said, there must always be room for error and while sometimes the last frost may come early, in other years it could be much later.
For the most part, the last frost date will be determined as a mode average of the last XX number of years. When you use an average date, you should be aware that this is the date on which the last frost occurred for more than half of the years taken into account. However, it pays to be very cautious when using this approach since putting your vegetables outside before the last frost could be devastating for these plants.
How Does The Weather Affect My Plants?
As many knowledgeable gardeners among you will know, different plants are able to tolerate different conditions. However, there are very few that will take kindly to a battering of frost. More often than not, these harsh conditions will kill off a plant, even if it is considered to be incredibly hardy. In fact, if a late frost occurs, it is not unheard of for delicate or tender vegetables and plants to die in just one night!
When we talk about the last frost dates, these are considered to be in line with the time that you can plant your tender vegetables and not to do with the lowest temperature in your area. That being said, if you have a lot of non-annual plants, the lowest temperature will certainly have an impact on these. There may be some plants that simply cannot handle the lower temperatures.
What Things Affect The Last Frost Dates?
When you are researching the last frost dates there are several things that you must take into consideration. For example, if there are any significant bodies of water near where you live, for example, the sea or a large lake, this can have an impact on the last frost dates. Furthermore, things such as mountains and other sloped terrain could alter the date of the last frost.
For the most part, frost dates are given by town, so it is important to look up your nearest town and go with that. In the main, these dates are pretty accurate with typically six out of seven years being correctly predicted. But again, take this with any other relevant factors because if it happens to be a year where the date is wrong, your plants could suffer.
When Is The Last Frost Date in the UK?
There are many resources online that will give you accurate last frost dates, but if you want to get as close to average as possible, you could use a last frost date calculator. There are several of these sprinkled around the web, but we would recommend the Garden Focused one which is usually very reliable.
However, since many people don’t have time to be making calculations, we have put together a short list of some of the most commonly searched last frost locations in the UK, for your convenience.
|Location||Average Last Frost|
|Newcastle Upon Tyne||21-30 April|
|Saint Helens||21-30 April|
|St Ives||11-21 March|
|West Bromwich||21-30 April|
Getting your Vegetables outside as soon as possible is important for plant health and will increase your yield although if you put them outside too early, the poor UK weather could be hugely detrimental and even kill off your plants before they have had the chance to mature. Keep this last frost date in mind when growing vegetables in the UK if you want to enjoy your homegrown produce.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Although you may have a ‘date in mind, always check the next few weeks weather forecast as last frost dates are an average and not a given!”
“If you are worried about another frost after putting your vegetables out, you can use a fleece tunnel to protect your infant crops!”
“In late winter and early spring, it is a good idea to add a nice layer of mulch to your vegetable garden to provide warmth and protect from frost!”
“If in any real doubt, wait a couple of weeks until after the average last frost date in your area to give you a much larger chance of avoiding an unexpected frost!”
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no definitive last frost date that covers the whole UK. The date of the last frost is worked out using an average of previous years. The last frost date in the UK can vary greatly across the nation with Aberdeen in Northern Scotland being around the beginning of May and London being the middle of March.
The average last frost date in Norfolk is approximately 1 - 10 April.
The average last frost date is the date where a region can expect its last frost meaning that many plants & vegetables can be sown or transplanted outside without the risk of the weather damaging the plants. This date is not fixed and is worked out using an average of a previous number of years so planting on a particular date still carries an element of risk.