Observed last frost date?
I saw your webpage on average last frost dates for my area: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/745.pdf, but looking at the source data it seems to be based more on the 20th century (1900-2006), rather than more recent data. I was wondering if you had information on what the last frost date has been for my area (I live in New Castle between Glenwood Springs and Rifle), for the last 15 years.
Garfield County Colorado
Thanks for your question. Yes, this fact sheet data is a bit dated, and is based on historical averages. It is important to remember just that, they are averages. I think one of the more difficult things for gardeners in our area is counting on a reliable frost free date as our mountains can cause the weather patterns to shift and greatly effect our seasonality or temperatures on a daily basis. I know I am always ready with a plastic layer or some floating row cover just to be sure I don't loose my tender veggies in a surprise storm. Two things you can try if you are looking for more recent data, the first would be the airport. Often times they collect and make weather data public, you could try the Garfield County airport website to see if they have any info like this available. The other bit of good news is that the National Conservation Resource Service in Glenwood, with the help of the local conservation districts, installed two new COAgMet stations in Garfield County last year. A COAgMet station is a small weather station that records precipitation events, high and low temps, wind speed, and solar radiation. Although these station are new, and have no historical data, we will be able to use them more and more to build the type of data sets you are looking for. To access this data go here...http://www.mountsopriscd.org/ and look for the COAgMet station tab down the left side. I will contact the NRCS to see if they will include the temp data on these read outs for you.
Thanks, and happy gardening,