October 1, 2017
The arrival of cold temperatures in the start of October may be a precursor to winter around the corner, but it is a benchmark in autumn for the end of the growing season. Perhaps it gets rid of the stinkbugs, and lengthens the time between mowing your lawn. For gardeners and farmers it can be the end of the growing season. The map and charts below are based on 25 locations around Maryland with the average date when temperatures will reach 32F. Note that it is possible to get frost with temperatures in the upper 30s though. Also consider that some areas with varied terrain can have a wide range of first frost dates since warmer air holds on hill tops and cold air sinks in valleys on long autumn nights.
In my 14 years on Baltimore TV working with hundreds of local Weatherbug stations, I have a noticed wide range of temperatures on autumn mornings across single towns. Even in metro Baltimore. Ellicott City for example can have a range of 5 to 8 degrees on some mornings from the old historic valley area to the hill top near Rt 40. There are pockets of colder air near Bel Air/Fallston, Baltimore’s Hereford Zone, and even between Frederick and Mount Airy. If you live near the water, either the Bay, reservoir, or river, that can be a source of heat delaying early frosts nearby. I am sure you have noticed your own microclimate that might not be represented on the map. That is a general display, the best I could make with the information and research I’ve found.
The University of Maryland points out that cold temperatures will improve the flavor and texture of kale, collards, cabbage, and turnip greens. But bringing tender annual flowers like geranium and begonia indoors before the first frost will help you keep them growing indoors through the winter.
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