Proper timing is possibly the most important factor to successful spring gardening. Regardless of variety selected or cultural practices used, if a gardener does not do the right thing at the right time, chances of success are diminished.

To estimate when planting should begin, the average first frost-free date must be established. March 15 is the average frost-free date for the area south of a line from Del Rio to Uvalde, San Antonio, Austin and Beaumont. This is referred to as Region II. North of this is Region I with a first frost-free date of April 10.

Refer to the map of Texas "gardening" regions.

Gardeners south of a line from Eagle Pass to Pearsall, Pleasanton and Refugio in Region III should enjoy frostless days as early as February 15.

Remember that these are "average" first frost-free dates for each region. "Average" means that frost can occur later, so make emergency plans to protect early plantings.

With these frost-free dates in mind, a gardener can decide what frost susceptible vegetables to plant and when. He also can decide whether to use transplants or seeds.