What are Gardening Zones – Beginner Gardening Series

When you first get into gardening, you need to understand that not everything will not grow everywhere!  This concept is critical information.  Despite how much you may want to grow something most times, it is not happening.  That is because plants originated in different areas of the world and were then brought to America or other countries. 

Plants are native to certain areas meaning they are adapted to perform best in certain places.  Citrus does not handle extended freezing temperatures, so you’re going to have a hard time growing oranges in places like Minnesota. 

WHY Create Gardening Zones 

To assist farmers and gardeners, the USDA recorded high and low temperatures for different areas in North America, compiled it, and created the Plant Hardiness Zones.  These zones are not only for America, There are also plant hardiness zones for the world.  Nurseries and seed companies adopted this information and added it to their plant labels and descriptions.  You can use this information as a guideline of what will generally do well in your area. 

Over time these maps have shifted.  This shifting has even caused some towns to change zones. 

Treat this map as a guideline.  I mean, there are different microclimates within the same city.  I know in Houston some people live closer to the gulf and they experience different weather than people on the northside of town. When you look at these maps, you start to understand how within different states, there are different zones;  For example, northern Texas vs. southern Texas.

In continental America, the zone map is broken down into 11 sections.  These sections are broken down further into subsections A and B.  For example, in the great state of Texas, we have zone 9A and 9b.  “A” corresponds to the section of zone 9 with the lower temperatures, while “B” is the higher temperatures.   I care about the zone number; I pay less attention to the A or B subsections.

Find out your USDA zone here.

Now that you understand your growing zone and where to find it.  It is time to tackle chilling hours. Hopefully, this helps you feel more confident about getting your hands dirty and out in the garden.  Don’t forget the motto JUST GROW IT!

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