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sheeshshe
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what zone am I in?

I think it is 5, but 5a? 5b? I've plugged my zipcode into different zone calculator things and I've got such drastic results I don't know! I got 4, 5a, 5b, and 6!!!

can someone tell me which is the most accurate one to use?

DoubleDogFarm
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Hope this helps.

https://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/2242.htm

Eric

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sheeshshe
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eh 4b or 5a. we're right on the line so who knows. how important is it anyways?

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rainbowgardener
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It is important to know in a general way for picking perennials that will survive the winter. The only thing it tells you is how cold it usually gets in the winter. So it makes no difference at all for growing annual veggies.

If you are growing perennials, you need to know, but there's a lot of variability... I'm here in 6b, but I'm 4 miles from downtown in the city heat island, so I can sometimes grow zone 7 plants, especially if I find a protected spot for them and mulch well. But plants in containers are much more exposed and vulnerable, so for that you need to pick something that is hardy a zone lower than where you are.
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Shoontok
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What zone am I in? i often ask my self the same question but has nothing to pertain to gardening, lol.

Anyways on a serious note since im new to gardening i never researched that "zone" thing. What zone is southern NY?

DoubleDogFarm
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Looks like 5a

https://en.openei.org/wiki/Putnam_County,_New_York

Eric

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sheeshshe
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well, I ask because I want to do some soybean or wheat or other things and a chart I was looking at was saying temps etc. and I was trying to figure out when I am supposed to plant these things so I figured if I knew the exact zone I could figure out better.

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rainbowgardener
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The hardiness zones have little to do with growing wheat or soybeans or other annual crops, although you will find planting schedules like this:

https://www.thevegetablegarden.info/resources/planting-schedules/zones-7-8-planting-schedule

based on what zone you are in. They are just making an association between how cold the winter is and how soon it warms up in the spring, which does not always hold true. Basically the ONLY thing the USDA hardiness zone tells you is how cold does it usually get in the winter and that is most useful for knowing what perennials shrubs, trees, will be able to survive the winter.
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sheeshshe
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ahhh, gotcha. that makes sense, thank you :)

DoubleDogFarm
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https://www.gardening.cornell.edu/vegetables/index.html

Here is some good information for NY gardening.

Eric

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Knowing your zone is only the first step. Your individual micro-climate is important as well. You can be in zone 5a, for example, but depending on your altitude and surroundings, your frost dates could be sooner or later than specified.

In addition to knowing your zone, you must also understand your climate from experience.
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FieldofFlowers
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Location: MN, Zone 4a

What zone would be the Twin Cities? I gather zone 4, but as far as a/b I haven't figured out. I'm just guessing. I just know here double digit negatives seem to be common place sometimes close to -20 for a couple days each winter. When I lived in southeast WI single digit lows occurred, but double-digit negatives got quite a bit of attention and were more rare in comparison.

The zip code there portrayed a 5b, sometimes even bordering zone 6.

But when I look at the overall records, vs the temps here, it appears both places can get about the same weather. In fact in some ways it can even be warmer here than there. Along the great lakes, springtime highs seem to be cooler but overall lows more mild.
Please excuse some of my typos. My keyboard has a busted spacebar.

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rainbowgardener
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Zone 4 is good enough for practical purposes, but it looks like you are 4b:

https://www.usna.usda.gov/Hardzone/hzm-nm1.html

None of the stuff about warmer or other climate patterns makes any difference to the zones, which only tell you what is the coldest it usually gets there.
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FieldofFlowers
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Location: MN, Zone 4a

Looks like the map has me in zone 4a:
-30 to -25 F -31.7 to -34.4 C Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota; Lewistown, Montana
But weather wise the -20 to -25 range seems to vary from winter to winter and how many clippers we get from Canada. When it comes to temp extremes, I believe there seems to be even more than there are in the Great Lakes area in WI.
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garden5
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The worst is when you straddle the boundary between two zones. In that case, I would lean towards the cooler zone....better safe than sorry.
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