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Ask Plantables: What is a growing zone? And why is it so important?

If you’ve read any of our other blog posts, you’ll know that we like to go into a lot of depth.

We’ve waxed lyrical about spades, spoken about different types of growing bulbs and shown you how to build a – erm, shall we say rustic? – raised bed for your garden.

But this week, we’re going to keep things short and sweet because while you might be wondering what a growing zone is, you probably don’t want to know the exact science, methodology and history behind it.

You just want to know what it is and why you need to know it, so you can get back to planning out your vegetable patch.

So, we’ll get to the point, what is a growing zone?

A growing zone – or hardiness zone, as they’re sometimes known – is really just a fancy term for the climate where you live and how it affects the growth of fruits and veggies.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) divided North America into 13 different growing zones based on their individual temperatures and climates. Zone 1 (at the top of Canada) is the coldest, and zone 13 (way down in Mexico) is the warmest.

Each zone is split up by 10 degrees, so the coldest temperature in Zone 1 is 10 degrees colder than the coldest temperature in Zone 2, and so on…

These zones gives you a good idea of when your plants have the best chance of success. (Of course, like Captain Jack Sparrow, we think of these as more guidelines than rules – that’s why we make sure that your plants are always grown to be hardy and to thrive in all conditions.)

Why do you need to know this?

We ask you to find out your growing zone (there’s a handy map at the checkout that makes it super easy) so that we can deliver your plants to you at just the right time for them to grow, thrive and produce crazy amounts of produce in your region.

(Of course, if you’re a greenhouse grower – or you live in a microclimate – don’t worry. You can bypass this section and choose the date you’d like your plants delivered, even if it’s outside of your growing season.)

And that’s all there is to it, really.

If you want to wade knee-deep into everything growing-zone-related, The Arbor Day Foundation’s article on how global warming is changing the grow zones is an interesting read into an unexpected side effect of global warming.