Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nyack is Now Zone 7a

I'm getting into my zone. My new USDA hardiness zone -- 7a.  

It was big news to gardeners when the USDA announced the changes in the plant hardiness zone map a couple of weeks ago.  The map serves as a guide for growers all over the continent, helping them figure out which plants might survive winter in their area, meaning they are “hardy.”    If a plant is “hardy to zone 6,” that means it will most likely not survive the winter in zones below 6 without some kind of protection. 

Here in Nyack, we are now zone 7a - Lucky number 7.  Just a little north of us, Bear Mountain is zone 6b, and Harriman State Park is mostly zone 6a.   So three zones are represented here in our little county.   Talk about microclimates!

Why get excited about a higher zone?  Well,  I went right to the catalogs to see what new things I could grow.   Here are a few things I might be trying for the first time this year.  

Arp Rosemary
From Richter's Herbs
This is the hardiest variety of rosemary available - able to withstand both cold and heat.  Rosemary prefers a sandier soil than I have, so I'll probably try it in a container where I can easily ammend it.  I've tried overwintering Rosemary inside many times with mixed success -- this will be different!

Anise Hyssop, which I've grown for a couple of years now, is a variety of Agastache.  Richter's Herbs has "Summer Fiesta" Agastache that I think would be beautiful in my sunny patch of perennials.  I've found that it easily reseeds, in fact, the Anise Hyssop borders on invasive -- wonder if this will too?

Conandria Fig (Ficus carica)
Edible Landscaping Online has a nice selection of figs.  I've had good luck with "Brown Turkey" and would like to try another lighter-colored variety.  This one is hardy in zones 7 - 9.  It's described as a "large yellow fig with a high sugar content."   Bill's Figs is another great source of fig trees in our area.
Cannas and Elephant Ears (Colocasia) - two plants that we've always been advised to dig up before a frost in zone 6a should be perennial with a layer of mulch in zone 7!  Maybe Gladiolus too!  We're inching toward tropical.

Society Garlic (Tulbaghia viola) - grown primarily as an ornamental, this chive relative has lavendar/pink flowers that smell like hyacinth.

Raja Puri Banana

From Willis Orchards
There are a few kinds of banana that are hardy in zone 7.  I'm only interested in ones that will fruit, and although many kinds don't produce fruit in colder climates, some people have had good results with Raja Puri.  It grows to 10-12 ft. tall and is stout and sturdy. 

Here, from Organic Gardening, is their suggested February To-Do List for Zone 7:

1) When you see the first crocus open, consider it time to set out transplants of lettuce, cabbages, and onions; cover them on cold nights.

2) In the garden, sow seeds of radishes and cold-hardy lettuces.

3) When daffodils "pop," plant seeds of spinach, turnips, and peas.

4) Cover the pea bed with clear plastic until sprouts begin to emerge; then, immediately switch to a floating row cover to protect the seedlings from weather and birds.

5) Start herb seeds indoors under lights.

6) Also indoors, start seeds of annual flowers—such as ageratum, petunia, and snapdragons—that need 8 to 10 weeks to reach transplant size.

Did your zone change?  Find out by clicking on this link.  Have you grown any of the plants above that I'm considering?  I'd love to hear your experience!


David said...

Wow! Looks like you've got some big plans for your zone 7 garden.
I hope all of your lucky 7 plants bloom and prosper.
Me? I'm still stuck with my old zone. Oh well. Maybe on the next map. In the meantime, I just hope we don't make it on the drought map 12 months in a row this year.

Ashling said...

I had no idea this had happened! Thanks for the heads-up. We're now Zone 6A (on the cusp of 5B). Not sure how much much will change for us, but looks like you have lots to think about & plant!

k said...

OMG! Where I used to live went from Zone 3 to Zone4A - lows of 40+ below to lows of 30 -25 below. I knew it had changed, but I didn't think it was that drastic.

Where I am now is still rated as 4b. I guess that's true, but not this winter. I'm starting to think that maple syrup is going to be a thing of the past really soon.

tina said...

You are now in the same zone as me! Actually you always were. It's hard to believe Tennessee and NY are in the same zone. Good luck with your new plants.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Its good that it has been updated. Wish that we have more detail zone here. How exciting will it be to have banana fruiting in your place.

TALON said...

That is like getting a super neat gardening gift, JGH! All those new possibilities. I checked and our (Canadian) zones haven't changed since 2000.

I guess this is a true indicator of how much our climate is changing.

the home tome said...

Hooray for Zone 7A! I'm happy to celebrate anything that involves figs :)

~mel said...

I would be ecstatic to find out I was in a new and warmer zone. I love my snow ~ but hate our short growing season here in zone 3. Have fun gardening and checking out the new plants!