Gardening zone

mizwilly(4b)August 14, 2012

Is the base of the Idaho panhandle, microclimate zone 4b, considered Rocky Mountain or Pacific Northwest?

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See, this is a question that used to bother me just a bit . . . as I tried to fit in with Puget Sound and Multnomah Valley gardeners.

Now, if you think about it for a moment, it is impossible to have the same expectations and experiences where the growing season is less than 5 months, less than 20 inches of rain/snow fall each year, and winter temperatures always reach sub-zero. I mean, every afternoon these days - humidity levels drop below 20% and the temperature is 35 degree higher than it was that morning. Does that sound like the Puget Sound? No.

I think the flora and fauna differ remarkably. I can point to a few things that are common here and completely missing on the other side of the Cascades. Personally, I think that Sunset has done the work for us. On their gardening zone maps, Zone 2 and Zone 3 run throughout the Intermountain West and are entirely missing from west of the Cascades.

Welcome to the forum, MizWilly.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 7:31AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Miz,

Nice to see a new face around here!

Digit's the expert since he lives up thataway, and I way agree with him! I don't think there'd be much similarity at all to the wet, warm, lowland gardening near the coast. Wherever exactly you are, I'm guessin' you have Digit's short growing season, low precip, low humidity, wide day/nite temp swings--and "unfortunate" soil! That would put you with the rest of us, "I can do this! I KNOW I can really, really do this" gardeners! And, yeah, you/I/all of us, really, really CAN do it! We prove it every day and every year!

Are you really sure you're in a 4b microclimate? Check out the (fairly recent) USDA map below. It's showing everything up in the panhandle, all the way down to south of Coeur d'Alene, to be zone 6, and going all the way down to a 4 seems like a big swing. You must be in some sort of a little rock basin or the bottom of a valley where the cold air settles or something. The linked map is interactive and you can zoom in as far as you want to and then click on the "zones" around the edges to highlight whichever zones you want to.

There hasn't been much action around here on RMG lately, but hopefully it'll pick up again soon. Hope you'll be around to join in our conversations.

Welcome to RMG,

P.S. Digit, Woodle is doing great--Rainey's not so much! Haven't had time to post lately--getting ready for my vacation---up your direction this year, but not that far! But I WILL be staying in Idaho for 4 nites--at Island Park! (Yellowstone!) My tomatoes got put in WAY late this year, but are doing pretty well, and I'll be back with a complete report sometime after I get home--assuming my hard drive with all my notes doesn't crash again this year!

Here is a link that might be useful: USDA Interactive Zone Map

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:16PM
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