If you garden, (and you should if you wish to live a prepping lifestyle,) then you will need to be aware of the ideal planting guidelines for your area.
Many of these general guidelines are based on the average temperatures experienced in your area and especially on the minimum temperatures that could occur at your location during the year. These temperatures, of course, determine how long your growing season would be and how hardy your plants should be to grow in your garden. One way of doing this is to be aware of your location on a plant zone map.
It should be fairly obvious why this information should be so important to know for anyone who grows a garden. The statistics displayed on the map determine what you can plant in your area. They also determine how long and how many growing seasons are possible for where you live. In addition, an experienced gardener can also use this data to determine how to better match the needed conditions to grow certain plants that would not normally do well in his or her area. (For example, one could try to start seeds indoors before the last frost, or they could choose to utilize a greenhouse.) Since the temperature climate affects the success of any garden, it is a necessary thing for one to learn and understand. A first step to achieving this is to determine the planting zone in which you live.
The easiest way of doing this is to locate your position on a plant zone map. These maps are alternatively known as “plant hardiness zone maps.” Plant zone maps are often based on the model created by the USDA in about 1990. This model uses a color-coded system which identifies different zones defined by their “average annual extreme minimal temperatures.” In consulting one these maps, you will get a general idea of the temperature conditions in your area. These conditions will determine what kinds of plants are suitable for your environment and when one can sow each kind of plant. Of course, these maps are just a guide. Each year will bring variations in temperature, and as you plan your gardens, you will need to be observant of the current weather and climate conditions in order to determine when to being planting. So it is necessary to keep that in mind. Also, in addition to studying one of these maps, you should consult local resources such as plant nurseries, government agencies, or other experienced gardeners in your area. You will need other information to succeed at gardening as well. Soil conditions, annual rainfall, and the date of the last frost (if any) will also affect the outcome of your growing efforts.
As for assisting you in determining your location on a plant zone map, the following is a map of the world’s planting zones:
To find a more detailed plant zone map of your area, visit one of the following websites:
For the United States: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/
For Canada: http://www.planthardiness.gc.ca/?m=1
For Europe: http://www.houzz.com/europeZoneFinder
For New Zealand: http://liddlewonder.nz/zones.php
For other detailed maps, and some other locations not listed above, visit http://www.plantmaps.com/.
For more information on plant zone maps, visit the following: