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Gardening & Farming

 Kim Parlato's Garden at 377 W. Crescent St. in Marquette
Kim Parlato's Garden at 377 W. Crescent St. in Marquette (WLUC)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 8:40 PM EDT
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Agriculture is a top industry in Virginia with an estimated $70 billion to the economy annually. Virginia has nearly 44,800 farms spreading across nearly 8.1 million acres of land. Weather plays a critical role in the success of farming and gardening. We’ve put together a list of seasonal links that may be helpful.

DROUGHT MONITOR

The U.S. Drought monitor is issued each Thursday morning and is compiled from rainfall up to the Tuesday before the report. [MORE: State Drought Monitor]

SOIL MOISTURE

Soil moisture is the water that is held in the spaces between soil particles. Surface soil moisture is the water that is in the upper 4 inches of soil, whereas root zone soil moisture is the water that is available to plants, which is generally considered to be in the upper 6 feet of soil.

Soil Moisture Data and Tools

PLANTING TIMES

Selecting appropriate planting dates is a critical component of successful gardening. Below are some links that you may find helpful when planning when to plant your garden.

FROST & FREEZE

FROST can occur when the “surface” air temperature (officially measured at 5 or so feet above ground) is below 36°, however, the air near the ground may be below 32°. Several weather factors that encourage frost formation are clear skies, moisture, and calm or light winds.

FREEZE occurs when the surface air temperature falls to/below 32°. Frost may or may not form,

  • Light freeze (between 29°-32°) can kill tender plants.
  • Moderate freeze (28°-25°), sometimes called a hard freeze, can cause wide destruction to most plants.
  • Severe freeze (Below 24°), often called a killing freeze, causes heavy damage to most plants. Very few can survive a severe freeze.
NEAREST CLIMATE STATIONALTITUDELAST SPRING FROSTFIRST FALL FROSTAVG. GROWING SEASON
Roanoke1174′APR 15OCT 21188 DAYS
Lynchburg741′APR 27OCT 14169 DAYS
Bedford974′APR 16OCT 22188 DAYS
Danville410′APR 14OCT 27195 DAYS
Galax2385′MAY 5OCT 4151 DAYS
Blacksburg2099′MAY 5 OCT 3150 DAYS
New Castle1190′APR 21OCT 19180 DAYS
Covington1230′MAY 3OCT 9158 DAYS
Lexington1125′MAY 3OCT 10159 DAYS
Hot Springs2237′MAY 6OCT 5151 DAYS

Last and first frost dates are 30% probability. Calculated using 1981-2010 Climate Normals.

PLANTING BY THE MOON

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