Know your Growing Zone for help with Gardening

In the US there are growing zones ranging from 2 to 10. I live in a Zone 5 growing zone and am exposed you to the plus and minuses of all the growing conditions. I also have microclimates caused by the lakes that surround my area to take into consideration.


I have the cold nights, particularly in the spring and late frosts that give me a shorter growing season. So I make use of cold frames and hot beds to protect my crops and grow vegetables and flowers that really should be grown in my climate, like gourds. Gourds can take up to 120 days to mature and like hot weather so I practice many garden cheating trick to grow these amazing and fun gourds.

I also make use of hot beds and milk jugs filled with water for a little additional solar heat near my tender warmth loving plants. Plastic traps and move in row covers are always with reaching distance too.

This spring I have used all of these techniques to help my gardens. We started out with above average temperatures here in NW Pa and now are a little below normal temps. It’s been a challenging spring.


When the hot days roll in in July and August I have to make sure my mulch is on the garden to keep the soil moist and the plants happy. By applying a good mulch layer I can cut back on my watering of the gardens. I use about three inches to cover the ground around my plants. Mulch also provides additional nutrients and cuts back on weeding.

During the hottest month I may have to shade the more tender water loving plants in my yard. I also plant a few crops and flower in containers and will move them into the shade during the hottest hours of the day.


I use rain barrels for catching additional water for the gardens and mulch to help keep the soil moist and cool. Water is not as much of a concern where I live but we do occasionally have droughts and conserving water is a good practice anyways.

Know your growing zone will help you with gardening. What you should and shouldn’t plant and when you frost dates are. You can find your growing zone online or by contacting your local conservation department.

Tags: gardening growing zones, know you growing zone, growing conditions, rain barrels

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