The first step in gardening successfully is knowing what your hardiness zone is. Understanding this critical piece of information is the key to knowing what to plant, when to plant it, and how to care for it.
To start off with, enter your zip code below if you live in the USA.
Below is the official USDA Hardiness Zone map that shows you exactly what zone you live in based on where you live in the United States.
Here’s how your hardiness zone affects your garden.
It’s important to note that what zone you live in will be affected by not only how far north you live – it will also be affected by what your elevation is. You may have a different zone than someone just a few miles away from you because you live at a higher or lower elevation than they do.
Your zone will impact not only what kind of plants you can grow, but it will also impact when your first and last frost dates are. (And frost dates have a big impact on when you can plant things and when you need to start seeds indoors.)
For the types of plants you grow, you should look for varieties that do better in the zone you live in. Even for a single type of plant (tomatoes, for example), different types may do better or worse depending on what zone you live in.
This is especially important for perennial crops you may be interested in growing year after year – choose the wrong variety, and they may turn into annuals as they get killed off by winter cold or summer heat.
Also keep in mind that zones may slowly change over the years – for some places that are close the edge of two zones – based on changing weather patterns and climate conditions, but they should for the most part stay the same for most people.