Zoning Out

plantzonemapUpper Meadows Farm is in growing zone 5. Verona, where the Essex County CSA picks up, is in zone 6. Or are they?

The Organic Consumers Association says the U.S. Department of Agriculture is revising its Plant Hardiness Zone Map–the first change in 19 years–and the results will show the impact of global warming. The new map is due out later this year, but no one is saying when. The OCA does, however, say that, with 82 million American households doing some form of gardening, a new map could be a potent tool for education. “Hopefully the new map will clear up a lot of confusion about what’s happening to the climate,” a National Gardening Association horticulturist told the OCA.

There’s no confusion in a recent post on RealClimate, a group blog by climate scientists. It reveals that data compiled by the USDA shows that April is the new May. Apparently, the USDA planted one variety of lilac around the country in 1965 to show when spring began and help farmers time their corn planting. RealClimate says the USDA’s records show that the lilacs now bloom up to two weeks earlier than they did in 1965.

The image in this post is the USDA’s current Plant Hardiness Zone Map. For an interactive version, click here.

One Response

  1. Jung Seed is now recruiting people to plant the lilacs needed to expand the USDA study. If you have a place in full sun for two lilacs, see http://www.jungseed.com/sp.asp?t=USA-NPN+Lilac&c=785

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