How to Determine what Zone you Live in for Planting Schedule

One of the most critical pieces of information you need to know when you start gardening is the zone you live in.  This will tell you when you can start to plant your garden outside.  These are averages over many years so do not count these dates as definite dates of the last frost.

Even the best gardeners can get tricked by early warm temperatures and plant their gardens too early.

If you have planted your garden and the forecast shows frost.  The best thing to do is be prepared with frost cloth to cover and protect your young plants or be prepared to replace them and start over.

How to Determine What Zone You Live in for Planting Schedule See list below

Here is a site you can start with to see what zone you live in, for more local details put in your location to find specifics.

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

American Horticultural Society’s heat zone map

The USDA publication was last updated in 2012 and with temperatures rising over the last 10 years you may need to adjust the hardiness zone guide for your area.

The American Horticultural publication gives more detailed information on days above 86 degrees each year, again this has not been updated with the recent changes in warmer temperatures so you would need to adjust this data.

For many parts of the world, we have seen warmer temperatures which may impact your growing conditions.  It is best to check with local agricultural centers to see how this might impact your planting schedule.

These are average temperatures so be prepared to cover crops if your area has a cold front that moves in and lowers temperatures that could damage your crops.

Other resources to use for planting guidance

When you find a trusted source stick with it!

Local garden centers

Local Forest Product centers

Local agricultural centers

Local weather people with forecasts

Local Gardening groups

Tools to know How to Determine What Zone you Live in for Planting Schedule

Soil temperature thermometer

This is a key factor to know what temperature the soil needs to be at for plants to germinate and grow.

Keeping a yearly calendar for the last frost date in your location

Remember that one part of the city you live in compared to another can be different by many degrees depending on elevation, exposure to North, South, East, or West, and other factors.  Sometimes the best people are your gardening neighbors to see when they plant their gardens.

Recap on How to Determine What Zone you Live in for Planting Schedule

  1. Know the last frost date for your area to start your vegetable planting
  2. Have the correct tools to check soil temperature
  3. Be prepared with a crop cover cloth in case the temperature dips down to frost or freeze in your area
  4. Check with reliable sources in your area

Lastly, enjoy the beginning of your gardening experience.

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