Figuring out your gardening zone is not as big of a deal if you grow annuals (tomatoes, peppers, onions) because you can start them inside and then transplant them when the time is right. However, gardening zones become an issue if you are looking to start plants that come up every year like strawberries or blueberries.
Luckily, it is very easy to figure out your gardening zone as long as you are computer literate enough to plug your zip code into a computer. Don't worry, there are other ways to do it like looking at a seed magazine but using a computer to figure out gardening zones is the easiest.
There are many websites that will give you this info but I prefer www.parkseed.com or www.gurneys.com for really no good reason other than I buy most of my seeds from their websites. Once you plug your zip code in, both sites will help you determine which plants are right for you.
Another way to look up your gardening zone is to get a seed catalog from any of the seed companies out there (again... gurneys or parkseed). This may be a hard task at first without a little computer literacy but once you get your first catalog they won't stop coming in the mail.
Another tip that some of you may have not realized is that whoever comes up with the gardening zones info actually just updated their zones. You can now get more detailed information on your gardening zone where as before bigger areas where clumped together. Instead of my area being a 5 it is now a 5a which is warmer than a 5.
An example of this is somebody that lives by a lake could be a 5a where somebody 20 miles north is a 5. This may sound like they are taking it overboard and making it too complicated but you wouldn't think that if you were the 5A guy that never tried growing a 5a fruit or veggie because they were a 5.
I know gardening zones is old news to all of you gardening pros out there but hopefully this info will be helpful to a gardening newbie. I didn't know about gardening zones when I first started so hopefully I can help somebody avoid the same mistakes that I did.
Before you start your garden this spring, make sure you check out a website to find out what gardening zone you are in. You will be glad that you did.