Over Wintering Spinach – 8 months of harvests

Over wintering spinach is a great way to have an extra early and very productive spring crop. If planted at the right time and given some protection you will also have leaves to harvest in the fall and all winter long.

Over Wintering Spinach #1

This post contains affiliate links, clicking on them with not cost you any thing extra, but does allow Stoney Acres to make a small commission on your purchase through the Amazon Affiliate Program!

This was my harvest on February 10th this year. No I don’t live is southern California or some zone 9 mecca. We live in a cold Zone 6 almost zone 5 garden. Although we don’t have winters as cold as some, we do have tons of snow and very cold temps all winter long.

Over Wintering Spinach

Spinach is a very hardy winter green. Even those of you that live in Zones 3 and 4 can have a successful winter crop by over wintering spinach.

Planing Time for Over Wintering Spinach

To be successful at over wintering spinach you need to get started in early fall or late summer.

The first key for over wintering spinach is to get your seeds planted 6 to 8 weeks before your average first frost in the fall. For us that planting date is August 1st. Your date will be different base on that average first frost date. The newly planted seeds will need some extra care if your weather that time if year is hot. Be sure to water often (probably daily till the seeds are up and strong) and also offer extra protection from pests by covering your bed with a light weight fabric row cover.

Adding Protection from the Cold

The second key to over wintering spinach is to have some type of protection from the cold of winter. I recommend a cold frame if you live in zones 6 or colder. Those of you in zones 7 and warmer should be able to get away with just a hoop house. Either way you will need to think about getting that protection out around the time your first frost arrives in the fall.

Over Wintering Spinach #2

If you live in zones 6 or below I would also recommend adding a second layer of protection inside your cold frame. You do this by adding a piece of heavy fabric row cover to your cold frame once your night time temperatures drop to between 20 to 25 degrees. You will just leave that row cover in place until the temps warm back up and the longer days (more than 10 1\2 hours) arrive in the spring.

Harvest time Starts in Late Fall

One of the benefits of over wintering spinach is that your harvest begins in the fall and continues all winter and into the spring! You should have a decent harvest starting about 75 days after planting. That harvest will slow during the winter, but you should be able to harvest a salads worth of leaves every couple of weeks.

Over Wintering Spinach #3

Once spring arrives the growth of the plants will really take off and you should have a fantastic harvest starting in early spring and lasting until your spinach plants finally bolt and go to seed in mid to late spring. Not only will you have an extra early harvest but that harvest will also be very heavy because the plants are so mature early in the spring.

We have found that over wintering spinach is the most productive method for growing spinach. The continual harvest of leaves for over a 6-8 month time frame is a great addition of fresh veggies to our winter and spring diet.

Over Wintering Spinach #4

Remember that the keys to a great crop is planting 60 days before your first fall frost and having a cold frame or hoop house to protect the crop during the cold winter months.

Get this idea on your schedule for this fall and you will be over wintering spinach for a great spring harvest.

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Growing Lettuce in the Fall & Early Winter

Growing lettuce in the fall and early winter is really quite easy. All it takes in a little planning and protection from the cold to get a great fall crop.

Growing Lettuce in the Fall

This post contains affiliate links, clicking on them with not cost you any thing extra, but does allow Stoney Acres to make a small commission on your purchase through the Amazon Affiliate Program!

We love lettuce fresh from the garden.  In fact we love lettuce so much that we do everything we can to have lettuce growing in the garden all year long.  Lettuce is, for the most part, a cool weather plant.  Most varieties of lettuce prefer to grow in temperatures not much more than 75 degrees.  We have found that fall is really the best time of the year to grow lettuce.  In spring you are rushing to get all your lettuce harvested before the heat sets in and turns the leaves bitter.  But in the fall temperatures are cooling making it the perfect time for lettuce growing.  And most years we can get lettuce to stay tasty until the middle of December with some protection.

There are 4 important things to remember when growing lettuce in the fall.

Timing of planting, the varieties of seeds you plant, protection from the heat of late summer and protection from the cold of early winter.  Let’s talk about each of these.


If you are planning on growing lettuce in the fall the most important thing to keep in mind is the timing of when you plant those seeds.  You should aim to start getting seeds in the ground about 60 days before your first frost date.  For example our first frost usually arrives right around October 1st, so we start planting lettuce either in the garden or indoors in our seed starter on August 1st.  If your first frost date is November 1st then you could wait til September 1st to plant.  The key is 60 days.

Growing Lettuce in the Fall starts

Now, can you get away with 45 days?  Of course, but 30 days before your first frost will be pushing it.  You need to have some well established plants by that frost date.  Also keep in mind that anything planted in the fall will take longer to mature than it would in the spring.  If your seed package says your lettuce will be ready to eat in 45 days then plan on 55 to 60 days in the fall.  Your daily amount of sun will be decreasing in the fall so it just takes longer for the lettuce to be ready.

Seed Varieties

Variety selection is the least important part of growing lettuce in the fall.  Really not a ton to tell you here.  Most lettuce that you grow in the spring will also do well in the fall.  But I would avoid “head” lettuce and stick with either leaf lettuces or lettuces that form smaller looser heads.  Butter Crunch lettuces do very well in the fall as they don’t form a heavy solid head.  Some smaller varieties of romaine lettuces also do well, we grow a variety called Paris Island that usually gets a nice head developed by late November.  Varieties that we have enjoyed and have grown well in the fall include Black-Seeded Simpson, Buttercrunch, Paris Island, oak leaf, Nevada and most types of red leaf lettuces.

Protection from the heat in Late Summer

If your summers are anything like ours then 60 days before your first frost is probably still pretty hot!  In August we have at least 10 days over 100 degrees.  That can be rough on new lettuce plants.  So you do need to baby those seeds and seedlings a bit when growing lettuce in the fall.  First off be sure to keep your lettuce beds moist, not soggy wet, but moist so that the newly planted seeds can germinate.  Until seeds have sprouted and are a week or so old I may lightly water my lettuce beds twice a day.  Once they are established they will do better but still be sure they get plenty to drink.

A simple frame hoop with some shade cloth on it can also really help your lettuce plants when it is still super hot.  This isn’t strictly necessary but it sure can help.

Another method we use to defeat the late summer heat is to start our lettuce indoors in our seed starter.  If you do this, it’s easier to control the environment that your lettuce grows up in.  I use some simple cell packs and thin to one plant per cell.  I keep them indoors for 4 to 6 weeks, fertilize them once a week with a good organic fertilizer and they will be ready to go out just a few weeks before your first frost.  This method also had the added benefit of producing a very pretty finished product.  It’s easy to plant a nice neat bed of individual plants that will look fantastic all fall!

Growing Lettuce in the fall 2

Protection from early winter cold

Lettuce is hardy, but it’s not super hardy.  It can handle a few nights of frost but will quickly turn to mush if it sits out unprotected for too many evenings with temperatures below freezing.  Simple protection is all it takes to get your crop to last well into the late fall and early winter.

Try buying some fabric row cover.  This simple and inexpensive garden tool can really save your lettuce from a cold night.  The heavier row cover fabrics can protect your crops for up to 6 to 8 degrees.  This means your lettuce will be snug and warm on nights as low as 26.

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For even more protection try a hoop house or even better a cold frame.  Either of these simple structures will keep you growing lettuce in the fall well into the days when you have temperatures as low at 20 degrees!  You can learn more about Hoop houses and cold frames by following these links.  The links will hook you up with some posts I wrote on using both.  You can also go here to see a great post on how to build a really nice cold frame.

All great things must come to an end and the lettuce harvest usually comes to an end when night time temperatures reach that 20 degree mark (even in a cold frame).  So if it looks like your night time temperatures are going to drop below that mark and stay there for a few days then it’s time to harvest the rest of your lettuce and bring it in and put in the fridge.  Most lettuces will stay good in the fridge for at least another two weeks giving you tons of crunchy salads well into December.

If you would like to learn more about extending your growing season then you should check out my Year Round Gardening Video Course!

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How to avoid growing funny shaped potatoes

Why did you grow so many funny shaped potatoes? You see the pictures floating around the internet all the time. Potatoes that look like feet! Or snowmen or alien’s. We all get a good laugh when we pull them out of our garden, but have you ever wondered what causes funny shaped potatoes?

 Funny Shaped Potatoes
The short answer to that question is stress!!!!!

Unlike people (who stress about mortgages and college educations for our kids), potatoes stress about heat and water!! The main cause of funny shaped potatoes is some type of environmental stress while the tubers are developing.

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The stress causing the funny shaped potatoes usually comes in two forms.
Heat Stress

If you have a very long, hot, dry spell while your potatoes are forming under the ground you can expect more funny shaped potatoes. Long stretches of temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit will cause stress on your potato plants, that stress will cause funny shaped potatoes.

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You can mitigate heat stress by mulching your potatoes with straw or even grass clippings. The mulch helps keep moisture in and also keeps the soil cooler causing less stress on the plants.

Inconsistent watering

The second cause of funny shaped potatoes is inconsistent watering. Water your potatoes every 5 to 7 days during the heat of the summer. Letting your potatoes dry out for too long actually causes the tubers to stop growing. Then when the water reappears the tubers start growing again, but they start growing by sending out either a new section of the tuber (causing thin funny shaped spots). Or the tubers will actually start growing new potatoes from the main tuber giving you the snowman or even foot shaped potatoes.

So if you have funny shaped potatoes you know you need to do something different next year with mulching and water!

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All the photos in this post come from our 2016 potato crop. In 2016 we had the perfect storm to produce funny shaped potatoes. I wasn’t surprised at all to see a bunch of odd shapes that year.

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We didn’t have a drop of rain from May until September, and we tied the record for consecutive days over 100 degrees. On top of the drought we also had a 10 day period where our irrigation water was shut off this summer because of an algae bloom in the lake that provides our water. For that whole time we didn’t get to water our potatoes. On top of that we also had a couple of family vacations that keep us away from the garden a little too long.

funny shaped potatoes 4

All these factors combined to give us a lot of funny shaped potatoes this year. It also meant a much smaller harvest this year. About half what we would normally expect.

funny shaped potatoes 5

Oh well, it made for some fun pictures!!


Would you like to learn more about growing potatoes?  Check out these posts:

How to grow potatoes using the Hill Method.

Growing an Early Crop of Potatoes.

Curing Potatoes before winter storage.

Storing Potatoes all winter long.

Did you have some funny shaped potatoes this year? Attach the photo to a comment below, or email a picture too me at admin@ourstoneyacres.com and I will add them to this post!

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Planning a Winter Garden – You need to start in July

Planning a winter garden? You need to get started in July!

Planning a Winter Garden

Fall and winter gardens are becoming very popular! I’ve been gardening in the winter time with cold frames and hoop houses for 9 years now. But it amazes my how much more popular it has become since I started. What used to be a novelty is now becoming common place even in the coldest parts of the country.

If you live in Zones 3-7 July is the time to start planning a winter garden. There are several tasks you need to get done early in order to be ready to plant your winter and fall garden. And these tasks need to get done in July and early August for most of us.

Planning a winter garden
Find your planting date

The first and most important step in planning a winter garden is determining your planting date. Fall crops and winter crops are planted at the same time. Your winter garden is an extension of your fall gardening efforts and you need to get started planting (either indoors or out) earlier than you might expect. You need to be planting seeds and seedlings for your fall and winter garden between 6 to 8 weeks before your average first frost date. Some even as early as 10 weeks. So to know your planting date, you need to know that average first frost date.

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The easiest way I have found to determine your average first frost date is to simply Google it! Most state land colleges have detailed records for frost dates for all the cities in your state. Finding this list is a good starting point. Also asking other gardeners in your area or calling your local extension agency (if you have one) can also help you get that date.

Planning a winter garden #3

Once you have your Average First frost, count back from that date 8 weeks. This will be your target date for starting most of your fall and winter crops. You have about a 2 week window to get those crops in the ground. Anything planted after about 5 weeks before your first frost most likely won’t be ready for harvest in time and will need to be protected with a cold frame and over wintered for and early spring harvest.

Let’s use my garden as an example. Our average first frost date is October 1st. Counting back 8 weeks gives us a target planting date of August 1st. So I need to get my fall and winter seeds planted between August 1st and August 15th.

Plan your Crops

Part of planning a winter garden is choosing the crops you want to grow. There are as many as 30 different crops that can be planted for fall and winter harvest. ALL of them are considered cool weather crops. Don’t plant things like tomatoes, squash, beans or corn. Temperatures in the fall will prevent these from growing.

Planning a winter garden #2

Instead you will be planting lettuce, carrots, spinach, swiss chard, Asian greens, radishes, etc.

For a more detailed list of the crops you can grow for fall and winter harvest check out these two posts I wrote as part of my winter gardening series:

Crop Selection #1
Crop Selection #2

Buying seeds

In July you need to be ordering those seeds from your favorite seed companies. As the popularity of winter gardening has grown many seed companies have responded by offering many hardy varieties of seeds and some that are even bread specifically for these cold weather conditions.

I love Johnny’s seeds for their huge selection of fall and winter ready seeds. Also Territorial seed company is now getting a very respectable supply and even publishes a fall seed catalog.

Prepping the soil

Part of planning a winter garden is getting the soil in your beds ready! And entire extra season of gardening will put a lot of stress on your soil! Be sure to treat it right be amending it will plenty of organic material before you plant your fall and winter crops.

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Fire up your seed starter again

One of the biggest challenges that fall and winter gardeners face is space! My planting date for my fall and winter garden is August 1st. My summer garden is still flourishing at that time. In fact in many cases it is just really starting to kick in! So I can’t just clear out productive plants to put in a fall garden.

The easiest way around this is to fire up my seed starter again on August 1st and start many of my seedlings for fall and winter indoors! You can’t do this for every crop, but most of the leafy greens (think lettuce, chard, kale, Asian Greens, etc) can be started indoors on your planting date and then transplanted outside 6 to 8 weeks later when your summer crops are winding down.

Plan for a method of protecting your crops from the cold

As the fall progress into winter you will need a way to protect your crops from the freezing temperatures. This is accomplished with either a cold frame or a hoop house. You need to get started now on planning and building these structures.

Planning a winter garden #4

To learn more about building cold frames and hoop houses you can check out these two posts:

Building a simple hoop house
Building a garden cold frame

Take my Year Round Gardening Video Course

The last step in planning a winter garden is to get all the knowledge you can! A great way to do that is to take my 5 hour Year Round Gardening video course on the Online Gardening School!

I’ve designed this course to teach you everything you need to know to grow a fall and winter garden and even to get started much earlier in the spring! This is a very extensive course that I’ve worked hard to make interesting and informative. Just follow the link below and you can get this normally $40 course for half off! Just $20!

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Picking Melons – Harvesting the perfect Melon

Picking melons can be tricky some times. Here a guide to picking the perfect melon every time. How to harvest watermelon or cantaloupe from the garden!

Picking melons

August is our favorite month in the garden.

Why?  Because here in Utah that means it’s time for the melons to be ready!!  Since we started growing our own melons several years ago we have decided there is nothing better than home grown vine ripened melons.   We wait all year for this 4 week period where we can snack on melons any time we want.  We love home grown melons so much that the grocery store melons no longer appeal to us.  They just can’t stand up to that home grown taste so we have pretty much quit buying them.  We just gorge ourselves for 4 weeks and then do without for the rest of the year.


This post is for those of you that are fairly new to growing melons and picking melons.  One of the hardest things to figure out is when to pick them. I remember one of the first times we grew water melons, we saw this beautiful sugar baby melon and waited patiently for it to ripen.  But I really didn’t know what I was doing and picked it too soon.  It was still white all the way through and we wasted it!

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So now that I’m a pro at it (no I am not prideful), I thought I’d pass along what I have learned on picking melons.  We only grow Watermelons and cantaloupe so I will pass along what I have learned on those and ask my readers to add some input on other types of melons.

Picking Melons – Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe (or muskmelons) are actually fairly easy to pick at the right time.  Mainly because they pick themselves.  You will know it is time to start watching your cantaloupes when they lose their green color and start to get a pail orange color.  The “netting” will also become more pronounced.

Notice the cantaloupe on the bottom is starting to loose its green color and get a pale yellow/orange

When this starts to happen keep an eye on them.  Where the vine attaches to the melon will start to separate.

Notice the vine is starting to separate from the melon

The melon is ready when you give a gentle tug and the vine pulls free.  If you tug and the vine holds on then give it another day and try again.

A gentle tug will cause the vine to separate from the melon when its ready to pick

The key is that the vine slips off with just a gentle tug.

Picking Melons

At this point I usually then bring the melon inside and let it sit for a day or two on the counter and then it’s perfect!

Picking Melons – Watermelon

Watermelons are much harder to tell when they are ripe!

Watermelon is much harder to pick.  There are several ways folks will tell you to go about picking melons but for most of us those methods just don’t work.  But there is a simple trick.  Let’s talk about some of the “wives tales” first before we get to sure method:

1.  If you tap on the melon with your knuckles the “thunk” will sound similar to the sound you hear if you do the same thing to your chest.  Professional melon growers use this trick to pick ripe melons but over their life time they have tapped on thousand of melons.  Us gardeners just don’t have the experience (or practice) to reliably pick a ripe melon by sound.

2.  When the spot touching the ground turns from white to yellow.  I will admit that this is a good indication that the melon is getting close, but it is just not 100% reliable.  When you see this color change then you know it’s time to starting watching for our main method.

So here’s the trick:

If you look closely at a water melon you will notice that there are little curly tendrils all along the vine.  A water melon is ripe when the tendril closest to the melon dries up and turns brown.  The tendril usually looses it’s curly end and what’s left becomes dry, straight and stiff.  It will slowly dry up and turn brown all the way up to the spot where it attaches to the vine.  It’s important that you wait until it dries up completely.  Once that tendril is dry the watermelon will hold on the vine for at the very most a week so but don’t leave it too long or it will get over ripe and mushy.  But once that tendril has dried you need to plan on getting it harvested.  Here are some photos:

Here’s what the tendril will look like before the melon is ripe

Here’s a tendril on a melon that hasn’t started ripening.

This one is starting to ripen, notice the curly part has fallen off.

Again this one is getting close but it’s not ready yet.

This one is getting close but it’s not ready yet.

This one is ready!!

The tendril on this one is perfect, its ready to pick and eat any time.

Here’s another shot of the tendril, the melon is in the top right corner of the picture. When the tendril looks like this the melon is ready to eat.

A mistake many new comers make is to pick the watermelon to soon and then think they can leave the fruit sitting out and it will ripen. Watermelon just doesn’t do that.  Once you pick a watermelon it won’t ripen any more unlike other melons and other fruits.  So be sure to wait for the tendril to dry up!

Picking Melons 1

Here’s a photo of that perfect melon from above right after it was picked.  It tasted awesome!!  So the tendril rule works on any melon that is considered a watermelon, no mater the variety or size.

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So here’s my call out to my readers to help others with picking melons.  I know many of you grow other types of melons.  Please send me a few photos and a quick description of how to pick a ripe melon, what ever the type and I will put these together in another post that we can share with other growers.   Or just all a picture of you picking melons in the comment section below.  Send your photos to rick@ourstoneyacres.com.  Thanks!!

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Putting in a late planting of beans in July

As summer progresses there are fewer warm season crops that you will be able to plant and still have a dependable harvest. A late planting of beans is one crop you can usually plant in mid summer and still get a harvest.

late planting of beans

When putting in a late planting of beans you need to keep a couple of things in mind.

1. The days to maturity of the variety you have choose.
2. The declining amount of sun as you move towards fall.


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What varieties to choose for a late planting of beans

In order to be successful with a late planting of beans you really need to have at least 75 days until your first real threat of frost.

This also means you need to choose varieties that have a pretty short maturity date. Green beans will really be your only choice for a late planting of beans. And I would recommend that you choose bush varieties not pole beans.

Bush beans spend a lot less time growing plant material and seem to just get in to the business of growing beans a lot quicker. There are a lot of tasty varieties of bush beans that have maturity dates right around 60 days. I would suggest choosing one if these varieties.  To learn more about growing green beans check out my complete guide to green beans!

late planting of beans 2

Declining sun light as fall approaches

One thing to keep in mind when putting in a late planting of beans is the declining amount of sunlight as fall approaches. In mid summer we hardly even think about shorter days. But as your late planting of beans progresses day-length will become an issue. Be sure to add at least 10 days to your maturity date before deciding what varieties to plant and when.

Choosing the latest date for planting

As a warm weather vegetable beans are very sensitive to frost. So the planting date you choose for your late planting of beans needs to be based off your average first frost date.

Find the days to maturity for the bean you have chosen on the back of your seed package. In the case of the variety I’m planting this year the days to maturity is 60. Add 10 days to that number to account for the declining sun light 60+10=70.

late planting of beans 3

So my beans need at least 70 days to mature. My average first frost date is October 1st. So counting back 70 days gives me July 20th. So my absolute drop dead date for planting beans is July 20th. But I want a little time for the plants to develop a good sized harvest so just for good measure i add another 10 days. So my goal is to in my late planting of beans by July 10th. For my area this is really as late as I can go.

So now find your own last frost date and count backwards at least 70 days and you will find when you can put in a late planting of beans.

A late planting of beans is a great way to fill some empty space in your summer garden. Smaller bush bean plants fit well into a mature garden and are a great option for rounding out your summer garden.

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What is my Garden Zone? Using the USDA Hardiness Map

What is my garden zone? Knowing your garden hardiness zone is an important part of planning and planting your garden.

What is My Garden Zone

You may have noticed that I often refer to garden zones in my posts. Knowing the answer to the question, what is my garden zone, is an important first step in gardening.

What is my garden zone

I’m actually quite surprised how many people don’t know their garden zone. I guess as an long time Gardener I’ve kind of forgotten what it’s like to be new to gardening. So I’m writing this post to to help those of you that are just starting out figure out what is my garden zone.

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Knowing your garden zone is particularly helpful for year round gardening.  If you would like to learn more about year round gardening check out this post!

Finding your garden zone

I will take a minute to explain in this post what a garden zone is and how to use them. But for those of you that just want to jump to the USDA website and grab your garden zone here’s the link. http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/Default.aspx

What is a garden zone

Gardening zones are helpful first step in learning what to plant and when to plant in your garden. The garden zone map was established by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). It often referred to as a plant hardiness map and each zone is determined by the Average annual extreme minimum temperature expected in an area. Knowing this extreme low will help you know what plants will survive the winter.

What is my garden zone

(map provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Garden zones are expressed with a number between 1 and 12, with 1 being the coldest and 12 being the warmest. You will notice there is a general trend on the map (see the map here) for the warmer zones to be in the South and for the zones to get colder as you move north. You will also notice the coastal areas are warmer, particularly along the pacific coast.  There are very few areas in the country at the extremes. The bulk of the country sits in zones 3 to 9 or really even zones 4 to 8 for the largest part of the country. There are no zones 11 or 12 in the Continental US.

So what does a garden zone mean?

Knowing your garden zone can tell you a lot about what can be planted in your garden and when. For example if you live in zone 5 your maximum low will be around -15 degrees????? So there will be many plants that you just can’t grow outside in your area. Citrus would be a great example, you really can’t grow an orange tree any where colder than zone 9 or possibly 8.

Knowing your garden zone can also tell me some fairly solid information about what your weather is overall, if you live in zone 8 then I know you live in a generally warm area with very mild winters, very little frost and a long growing season. If you live in zone 3 then I know you have very long, cold and severe winters with early frost and a very short growing season.

Is the zone system perfect?

The answer to that question is a big NO! There are whole group of gardeners that are very critical of the USDA zone system. That has caused the USDA to add sub zones. So you may often hear someone say they are in zone 5b or 7a.

In our case the zone listed on the map for Salt Lake City is 7. But ask anyone in our area what is my garden zone and they will tell you 6. Even our extension agents disagree with the USDA and agree we are in zone 6. But then if you add in local micro climates it even gets trickier. For example we live right at the center of our valley at the lowest point and less than 800 yards from the river. Every winter all the cold air sinks to the low point. We have frost sometimes weeks before our neighbors who live only 5 miles away. I’ve talked to a lot off gardeners who live where we do that feel like they might even be zone 5b.  I’m starting to shy away from that, I think my garden is a solid 6a.

So you can seen there is a lot of subjectivity to the system, and it is far from perfect. But the zone system really can be helpful as a starting point.

How do you find your garden zone.

There are hardiness zone maps all over the Internet.  Many Ag colleges even publish their own.

What is my garden zone 1

The above image comes directly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. As you can see it’s pretty vague and hard to read. But it does give you the general idea, you can see the trend of warmer to colder as you move northward and inland.

But the best way I have found find out “what is my garden zone” is to use the USDA Website. Follow this link. On the top left hand side there is a spot for you to add your zip code. This will get you a good idea of your zone.

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Next start talking to your gardening friends and neighbors and see what they think. You may get the input, like us, that even though the map says one zone, your area may behave like a zone that is warmer or colder than the map describes. Also keep in mind that many gardeners think their gardening lives are harder than they really are, so take what they say with a grain of salt.

Finding the answer to the question, what is my garden zone is super important. If you gather as much info as you can about your garden and the zone/climate you live in you will have a much better idea of what to plant and when to plant it. And your garden zone is a good first step.

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Garden Zones #2