Gardening · Homesteading · Urban Homesteading

Updated USDA Growing Zones – Impacts on your homestead and garden

The USDA just released an updated Plant Hardiness Zone Map, or otherwise known as the growing zones for the United States, for 2023.

For some areas of the United States there has been a shift in what zone you might be in now. And it is most likely warmer in winter.

While where I live hasn’t shifted, the areas directly around us have. Where we used to live, in inland Western Washington, has now become 8b. It was previously 8a to 7b. That is a huge change for low temperatures. What used to be 5* in winter storms might be 15*.

It can mean fewer bugs die in winter and more pest pressure on your crops. It also means more stress on forests, leading to more forest fires every year. Since we moved back to Whidbey Island, there hasn’t been a summer that wasn’t smoke-choked in August and September as it rolled down from the mountains across the water or down from B.C., Canada.

It also means for some zones you will be able to grow different items, but also might get where you cannot grow your favorites, and you must seek out new varieties, bred to handle more heat.

It’s a lot to ponder but also good knowledge to have on hand.