Mother Nature has been a little slow this spring in Montana, with cool and cloudy conditions for much of the state making planting those flower beds a little difficult.
The historic average last freeze for Great Falls is May 13, Helena is May 9, Havre is May 14, but Cut Bank and Lewistown are around May 20. But these are the average dates, which means some years are earlier and some years are later. Some of the higher elevations are still weeks away from their last freeze.
Living in Montana, we just can't avoid frosts and freezing well into spring. Memorial Day seems to be a safer date.
Montana is a cold state with a multitude of microclimates. Temperatures especially at night can vary by several degrees in just a few miles. So how do you know when it's save to plant where you live?
"A lot of the vegetables you can put out now are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peas because they're in the ground. Kind of the rule of thumb is Memorial Day is the kickoff," explained Greg Chadwick of Chadwick Nursery. “When the lilacs leaf, cold season plants that can take a frost are ok.”
When the lilacs bloom, the warm season plants are usually safe. Since we do live in Montana where cold and snow are possible year-round, covering the plants with a cotton sheet, not plastic, could preserve your garden.
This bud's for you! and now you're a little more weatherwise.