Monday, February 6, 2012


There isn't one ounce of my being that believes this new USDA garden zone map has been developed for political reasons. I also don't believe that climate change is political, but the pundits have been successful at branding it as such. The climate is ours, all of us, and therefore is not subject to politicking. It is either one way or the other, or variable, but never is it the agenda of individuals. Denying climate data, or screaming apocalypse are political acts, however, because those acts are tools of ideologues and vested interests.

Garden zones? No, those are just the facts, ma'am. Any NYer will tell you, this ain't no zone 6. Can we have a zonal 6 night? Yeah, sure, it's possible, but unlikely. The zone maps deal in averages after all, and I feel confident that my garden's micro zone is closer to 8a than 7b. Temperature data for these maps is collected at several points in any given area and will tend to quash extremes. On average -that is the USDA zone map agenda. To give you, the gardener, a sense of low-temperature averages in one simple product.

The most important aspect of the new map is in the presentation: it's downloadable, it's large, it's state selectable. These are important developments! Now I've taken it upon myself to rebuild, via the magic of a very popular image editing tool, the USDA zone map so that we can see, in proximity and quite large, the tri-state NYC metro region's zonal configuration. If you right click the image and then click open link in a new window, you will be able to see the full-size image. That'll make it easier to locate your place on the map, especially if your location is near a zonal boundary. 

What would be really great, now, is for us to collect garden/temperature data in our NYC boroughs so that we can generate a localized micro-zone map. And mine is 8a or higher.

For  links to the current USDA zone maps, click here.


  1. So what zone is your other garlic in? Should be interesting to follow the differences between the two. It's like your bicoastal, but really bizonal.

  2. The sweet spot up north I believe is 6a on the Hudson River. Differences are garlic grew a lot more down south than up north before winter set in. Which is hardly this year.


If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...