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What is your gardening zone?

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

We are located north of Toronto in Uxbridge, Ontario putting us in Zone 5b for Ontario. Growing fall crops can be a bit trickier than spring and summer crops but there is still a large selection of veggies you can grow. When selecting crops to grow in fall, choose varieties that have the fewest days to harvest. The reason for this is because fall veggies take longer to reach maturity because they receive less daylight as the growing season slows down. Crops planted for fall will typically be ready for harvest in September and October.

What is Canada’s Plant Hardiness Map?

  • It is a map that combines climatic conditions from across the whole country to produce a single map

  • The original map was developed in 1960 for trees and shrubs

    • The map has been updated since using new data

  • The map allows gardeners to determine what plants are most likely to thrive in a specific location

  • The map is broken into zones 0-9, each consisting of section “a” or “b”. For example, we are located in zone 5b

    • Zone 0 being the coldest, 9 being the warmest

    • If you are zone 5 it means that a plant is hardy (will overwinter/ not die in winter) to zone 5 (includes zones 0-5)

    • Also means that zone 6,7,8,9 plants will not overwinter in zone 5

Be sure to search your zone before planting your seed.

Knowing your growing zone will help you plan your garden. It will help you choose the right crops and varieties for your location when you should be planting and harvesting.

  • If you live in an area that is hot and humid, choosing a vegetable variety that does not fare well in those conditions is not ideal. Knowing your growing zone will better assist you in selecting the right varieties for your zone.

  • Will also help you to come up with a garden plan

    • Vegetables fall into 2 categories; warm and cool-season crops

    • Knowing your zone will help you determine when to plant, whether it's direct seeding outdoors or starting your seeds indoors

    • Generally speaking the warmer your zone the earlier in spring you will be able to start planting your garden.

    • Knowing your zone will also allow you to determine when your average first and last frosts dates are

      • This is so important!

      • The last frost date is the date in the spring in which frost is least likely to occur.

      • First frost date is the date in the fall that frost is likely to occur on or after

      • You DO NOT want to plant warm weather (sensitive) veggies like tomatoes and peppers outside before your last frost date

      • You also want to ensure that you get these same warm loving weather crops planted in time for them to mature before the first frost

      • Knowing these dates allows you to be better prepared. Start checking weather forecasts about 2 weeks before your expected last frost. Be prepared to cover any frost/cold-sensitive plants that you would like to live longer/ finish ripening their fruit

Knowing your zone will also help you to determine if the herbs, fruits and vegetables you are growing can be annuals or perennials. Perennials come back year after year. Zone 5 edible perennials include:

  • Vegetables: Asparagus, Rhubarb

  • Herbs: Chives, thyme, parsley, mint, sage

  • Fruit: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, currants, mulberries, apples, pears,

*Note: planting zone/regions along with first and last frost dates are general guidelines and are by no means exact. If your first frost date is October 5 and you are experiencing a warmer than normal fall, frost most likely will not occur. On the other hand, if your fall has below the average temperature you may get a frost before October 5

  • It is always best to watch your local weather forecast and sign up for frost warning in your area

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