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Article: Garden Myths Busted: Organic, USDA Hardiness Map, and Plant Quality vs. Cost: USDA Hardiness Map

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Forum: Article: Garden Myths Busted: Organic, USDA Hardiness Map, and Plant Quality vs. CostReplies: 3, Views: 48
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dshoemaker
New Port Richey, FL
(Zone 9b)

October 1, 2012
6:09 AM

Post #9291875

I have really appreciated the articles on gardening myths, thank you. I'm a novice gardener, but learning with each season. I'm also suspicious of "standardized" guidelines so have had some success and failure trying plants that were not rated for my zone (9b). I've found that some plants that are full sun in zone 8 can grow in filtered shade in my area. Also, I've found that some grow well in different seasons. I'm on the Florida suncoast and there is virtually no time of the year when I can't grow something. Thank you again for taking the time to explain these myths.
snowlion
Saint Paul, MN
(Zone 4b)

October 1, 2012
6:28 AM

Post #9291896

The thing about the USDA map is that it only looks at temperature. It's at best a measured average. Plant survival in winter depends on a lot more than temperature. In my zone (4) lack of snow cover can kill plants that technically are zone hardy -- the freeze-thaw cycle does them in.

I have much better luck when I research a plant's native habitat, and make my purchase decision based on whether I can provide a reasonable approximation of that. For instance "zone 4" plants native to mountainous regions often die quickly here because the seasonal extreme is too stressful.
mesico
Kewaskum, WI

October 1, 2012
7:07 PM

Post #9292996

May 1990 Country Living magazine has an article on page 71 that caught my eye. It is a book review of the book "National Arboretum Book of Outstanding Garden Plants". It discusses the then first revision of the USDA hardiness map. Let me quote from the article. Quote "The map reflects surprising changes in our climate. Interestingly, these changes show a continent growing cooler, not warmer: Most regions are averaging up to 5 degrees more cold than the previous map indicated. "
Those of you who have many years under their belt may remember when the alarmists were hyped up about global cooling. Personally, if I were to worry about the weather changes, which in my 86 years has gone both ways several times, I'd be more concerned about an ice age which history shows has happened.
KatyBoom
Hawaiian Paradise Pa, HI
(Zone 11)

October 1, 2012
9:23 PM

Post #9293141

I had hopes the new USDA Hardiness Map would show the variety I experience gardening in Hawaii County. There are several zones here -- not just tropical. We get snow on our two tallest mountains sometimes even in July. We have deserts AND rain forests, beaches AND mountains.
But 10 a and b and 11 are still all we get.
Sigh.

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Other Article: Garden Myths Busted: Organic, USDA Hardiness Map, and Plant Quality vs. Cost Threads you might be interested in:

SubjectThread StarterRepliesLast Post
Organic Foods greenhouse_gal 6 Nov 15, 2012 9:57 AM
nursery plants granitegneiss 3 Oct 24, 2012 12:25 PM
All absolutely true! ElementalDomain 0 Oct 1, 2012 10:14 AM


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