Find Your Gardening Weather Zone
live in a huge country. There are quite a few different "weather zones" within
the United States. You should know what yours is.
Your zone tells you the optimal time for planting in both spring and fall. You
want the longest growing season you can have, but you sure don't want to lose
plants to a late frost in the spring, or an early frost in the fall. Knowing
your zone also gives you a good head start on plant selection. You don't want
to waste time and money on plants that don't grow well with your specific
you know your zip code, you can type it in and find your zone:
Moving around that website will be great fun now that you
know your zone, for you can plug it in to find long lists of what plants do
well in your zone, too.
Once you know your zone, you can pinpoint the average
date of the last spring frost, and the first fall frost, using this chart:
Note that this chart appears to be a little less
conservative than some - meaning that in some parts of the country, you may be
taking a chance by planting seeds or plants in the earlier days or weeks of the
range. And if you want a fall crop of spinach, for example, you may find that
the actual first frost in your area happens weeks before the chart indicates,
so you may lose your crop or have your harvest shortchanged.
How to avoid mistakes in garden planning around the
all-important zone and first/last frost information? Simple: "cultivate" a
garden mentor! Find someone who has been gardening in your area for years. It
could be a neighbor, an employee of a local garden center, the friend of a
friend . . . but a local expert will give you great confidence, tips,
information and encouragement. Since part of the fun of learning about
gardening is making new friends, establish a garden mentor for your kids'
garden club, and benefit from your mentor's years of experience.