If you want a successful garden it all depends on where you live. Yes, you have to give your plants the right amount of attention, nutrients, water and love, but your geographical location is paramount to a bountiful harvest. The map below is how gardeners determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a particular area. The USDA Plant Hardiness Map sorts the entire United States into zones based on average temperature. As you can see, Virginia is made up of several different zones. This might explain why your friend is growing the best vegetables of his or her life while you’re having no luck. It isn’t because you lack a green thumb, it’s most likely because of your location.
Want a closer look? The USDA has an interactive map available that provides an in-depth view of the entire United States. Use it to find your road and to get a better understanding of how different some areas can be. Just enter your zip code or click on an area and zoom in. Roanoke is made up of four different zones; 6a, 6b, 7a and 7b.
To view the map click here.
Zones 6 and 7 are both pretty ideal for gardeners and both have a medium length growing season; Zone 6 is May 1st to November 1st and Zone 7 is April 15th to November 15th. Note: These are estimated dates based on the last and first frosts and it’s important to watch the weather before planting. Starting seeds indoors before the last frost date will give you a jump-start on the season. Knowing when to transplant those seeds outdoors is crucial for a good harvest and will vary depending on what you plan to grow. Below are planting schedules for common vegetables in both zones and as you can see they are very similar.
Above is the recommended planting schedule for Zone 6 and below is the recommended schedule for Zone 7. Location and time play equally important roles in having a good gardening season. Know your zone, know when to plant, and nobody will have better vegetables than you!