In the zone
Have you ever tried to read the USDA Hardiness Zone Map? (Of course you have, you’re a gardener!). Well, it’s great when you live someplace like Texas, which has great giant swathes of the same color. Easy to know what zone you’re in there. But get up to the Northeast, and it gets pretty tricky. The lines are close together, there are lots of little pockets of different colors, and all you have to do is drive a mile and you’re in another zone.
It wasn’t too bad when I was gardening in Boston. My garden there was solidly in the zone 6a. But here in upstate New York, it’s a whole different ballgame.
The national map is darn near useless for me. I even looked at the county-by-county New York State map that Cornell has on its gardening page. But my county has two colors and I live right on the border between them. I still couldn’t tell.
When all else fails, ask an expert.
One quick email sent off to my county cooperative extension got me my answer! Because of the specific location of our house (and the extension agent actually knew where it was), the expert told me that we’re in zone 5b, almost a 6–but warned me that being in the valley could mean some later frosts, so be careful…
I’m glad to hear this news! It means that all the gardening knowledge about plants that I’d built up in the Boston years won’t go to waste.
5b! Woo hoo!!