Know Your Zone

With spring approaching, we all get excited to step out and start thinking of planting, gardening and outdoor landscape projects. We should, especially after this winter! We open magazines and websites with spectacular outdoor pictures and how-to articles That’s all good, but first you need to pay attention to the ZONE. Kentucky is in Zone 6. What does this mean? The USDA has published a map based on temperatures and rainfall among other factors. The zones relate to plant hardiness which help gardeners understand which plants will most likely survive in a particular location. It is important to pay attention to them to help your plants thrive and survive likely temperatures in your zone. However, zone maps do have shortfalls; you may live in a micro-climate, or as in this past season, have an uncommon weather pattern. Soil, moisture, humidity, heat, wind, and other conditions also affect the viability of individual plants. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map was updated in January of 2012, the first update since 1990. About half of the country is a half-zone warmer. According to the USDA, this is not a statement on global warming; rather, the scientists are using a different set of long-range data and more sophisticated computers for a more accurate map, especially in challenging areas such as mountain zones which may have been rated too cold or warm in prior iterations. Most plants and seeds have labels and instructions on when to plant them in different zones. has a very useful gardening calendar: Now you know your Zone, get your gardening tools ready. Got a suggestion or a resource, please email us.