Know Your Plant Hardiness Zone

For home gardeners, weather is a major variable in determining the success of crops. Spring planting dates are commonly scheduled around the first frost-free day. Weather has a large influence on timing because of its effect on seedling establishment and crop growth. For example, peas planted at the first possible planting date in the spring and then again two weeks later will usually mature only one week apart. Germination conditions at the time of the second planting will likely be much better, and the young plants will grow faster as the days lengthen, slowly catching up with the first crop.

Viewer Tip: If you know your U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone number, you can find the average annual frost-free date for your area. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides the United States into 11 zones. Knowing your zone means you can look up the first day in your area without frost. To find your zone, visit your local extension agent, ask at an area nursery or check with your local librarian.

You can also visit http://www.garden.org/zipzone/ and use your zip code to learn more about your hardiness zone and get suggestions for plants that will fare well in your area.

This information is provided by ATTRA, National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service. Learn more in ”Scheduling Vegetable Plantings for Continuous Harvest” – http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/continuousharvest.html.

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