There’s a lot to learn when it comes to growing a healthy, thriving winter garden. Understanding the hardiness zones is one of the best things you can do to arm your plants against the cold. Luckily, the USDA designed a map to help gardeners use the right plants for local conditions. Finding the ideal plants for your region can help you grow a hardy garden that survives whatever Mother Nature dishes out.

History of the USDA Hardiness Zones Map

Although the USDA’s first map of its kind was developed in 1960 and revised five years later, the longest-running version was developed in 1990. The map divided the United States into zones based on temperature data from the last several years. The newer map included divisions within zones to show five-degree temperature changes; the previous version only indicated 10-degree differences between zones, giving gardeners less precise information.

A New and Improved Map

Fortunately, the government agency developed yet another version with even more improvements. The current map, released in 2012, was developed by the PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. It includes climate data from 30 years versus the 13 years included in the previous version. The newer model also considers more factors, including terrain, elevation, and proximity to large bodies of water.

How to Use the Map

Finding your zone is as easy as entering your zip code or choosing your area on the USDA’s hardiness zone map. The info from the map helps you choose the right plants for your winter garden once you discover which of the 11 zones you live in. Even if you choose the best plants for your area, you’ll need to protect them throughout the colder months. A plant protecting wrap made from natural burlap or another sturdy fabric shields plants from wind, blowing snow, and harsh temperatures. Bringing delicate bulbs inside will help them survive the winter.

Protect Your Plants with Jobe’s

Whatever the climate where you live, the USDA map of hardiness zones will help you maintain a healthy winter garden. You’ll find even more ways to protect your plot at Jobe’s Organics. Safeguard your plants all winter long with our reusable, UV-resistant plant protecting wrap or our natural burlap landscape fabric and fabric stakes. You’ll be rewarded with a thriving garden full of resilient plants next spring.