What Is A Maryland Planting Zone?
Maryland’s growing season is from May through October. During this time, plants need to grow fast enough to survive the harsh winter months. Plants will not thrive if they are unable to get enough sunlight during these times. If you live in a colder climate, your plants may suffer frost damage or even die during this period of extreme cold weather. In order to ensure that your plants will have sufficient light during the summer months, it is necessary to know which part of Maryland’s growing zone is appropriate for your area.
The USDA maps show the range of temperatures in each state. These temperature ranges are based on data collected from weather stations throughout the country. For example, areas with higher humidity tend to be warmer than those with lower humidity levels. The USDA maps also include average annual rainfall amounts. Areas with higher precipitation tend to be warmer than those with lower precipitation.
When looking at these two factors together, it becomes easy to determine where a particular location falls within the growing zone boundaries.
A Maryland Growing Zone Map: What Does It Mean?
When looking at a Maryland growing zone map, you should keep in mind that there are many variables that affect how hot or cool your plants will experience during their growth cycle. The map is only a general guideline to help you decide which plants will grow best in your area. The best way to test your soil is to look for a local botanical garden and ask if you can have some of their soil tested. The next step is to choose vegetables that will grow well in your area.
What Is A Good Maryland Planting Zone?
Looking at a Maryland planting zone map, you will see that the entire state is a USDA hardiness zone 7. This means that Maryland falls within the range of 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer temperatures in this area support crops such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash and more. In addition to vegetables, you can also plant flowering crops such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias to add color to your landscape during the summer months.
Maryland’s climate is perfect for fruit trees because the cooler temperatures slow tree growth. This prevents trees from becoming too large and helps them to produce a high-quality fruit crop during harvest time. Popular choices include apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries. Pears are also an excellent choice for the USDA growing zone 7 area. Your choices of berries are endless in this area.
Some popular choices include blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries.
Many types of vegetables grow well in your area, including broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, green beans, onions and peas. It is important to choose shorter varieties of these plants because the trees may otherwise block sunlight from reaching your garden crops. Your area also has a long enough summer growing season to allow you to grow tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables that prefer warmer temperatures when starting them indoors.
Many people are under the impression that you cannot grow fruit trees in Maryland’s USDA hardiness zone 7 area. This is not true! Depending on the type of fruit tree, it may or may not be able to survive in this zone. For example, citrus fruits can only survive in zones 9 and 10. You can still grow apple, cherry, peach and pear trees in this area, however.
Your area has a long enough summer growing season that allows you to grow tomatoes, peppers and other vegetable crops that prefer warmer temperatures when starting them indoors.
Can I Grow Vegetables In Maryland?
Yes, you can plant vegetables in Maryland if you live in the right USDA hardiness zone. You should start with seeds or transplants and plant them in the spring once the soil has warmed. The first few years may be a little challenging because you are not used to the climate, but after a few harvests you will start to get the hang of which plants grow best in your area.
What types of vegetables can I grow in Maryland?
The first thing you should ask yourself is whether your garden space is better suited for cool or warm season crops. This will help you narrow down your options. On the other hand, if you have enough room to grow both then you are fortunate because this gives you a lot of variety when it comes to choosing vegetables to plant. Warm season crops usually include vegetables such as cantaloupes, corn, watermelons, peanuts and okra. They need a long growing season and like it hot. Good choices for a cool season garden include broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, onions and parsnips. As you can see, you still have quite a lot of choices available to you even if you live in the cool season crop area of Maryland.
What If I Don’t Have A Garden Spot?
Are you renting an apartment with a small patio? Do you have a lot of shade and very little sunlight?
These aren’t problems when you start growing vegetables in containers. Many vegetables can be grown in pots and some can even be grown in hanging baskets! This is great if you live in an area that hasn’t quite warmed up yet or if you don’t have a lot of room to till. Hanging baskets can also add a nice touch to your porch or balcony.
It may take a little extra work each day, but with the right vegetables and containers you can easily grow food for yourself no matter where you live.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
You probably already know that Maryland has hot humid summers and cold winters. However, within these seasons are several variables that you may need to prepare for.
In the summertime you will need to water your garden at least once a day if there is no rain. You may also want to mulch around your plants to keep the soil cool and help prevent weeds from growing. You will probably be tempted to use lawn fertilizer because the grass is growing so fast, however this can burn your plants so it is recommended that you don’t use any. Bring in any hanging baskets inside before night time temperatures drop below 50 degrees.
In the winter you will need to cover your plants at night if the temperature is expected to fall below freezing. You can leave them out if the temperature is expected to stay at least near the freezing mark. These plants cannot withstand any frost or ice so you will need to bring them inside if there is a chance of that occurring.
What Else Should I Know?
The information provided in this guide is not a complete resource to growing vegetables. You can find more information about this online or at your local library. Good luck and happy planting!
Sources & references used in this article:
Development of a new USDA plant hardiness zone map for the United States by C Daly, MP Widrlechner, MD Halbleib… – Journal of Applied …, 2012 – journals.ametsoc.org
A climatic classification of plant hardiness in the United States and Canada by AT DeGaetano, MD Shulman – Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 1990 – Elsevier
Bridging the gap: linking climate-impacts research with adaptation planning and management by MD Mastrandrea, NE Heller, TL Root, SH Schneider – Climatic Change, 2010 – Springer
Switchgrass breeding, genetics, and genomics by MD Casler – Switchgrass, 2012 – Springer
Mapping irrigated lands at 250-m scale by merging MODIS data and national agricultural statistics by MS Pervez, JF Brown – Remote Sensing, 2010 – mdpi.com
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Genome-wide association study of leaf architecture in the maize nested association mapping population by …, Q Sun, S Flint-Garcia, TR Rocheford, MD McMullen… – Nature …, 2011 – nature.com