Short Answer: YesKnowing your plant hardiness grow zone will allow you to choose the plants that are adapted to your specific climate and have the best chance of surviving.

However, it is not the only factor to consider when growing vegetables. More on that further down.

Not every plant thrives in every climate. When choosing crops for your garden, it’s important to select varieties that can survive and thrive in your particular area.

Grow Zones generally define which plants can survive in your area.

For the sake of this article, we will be concentrating on Canada’s plant hardiness zones.

If you would like future articles on specific grow zones, let me know in the comments below.

What Are Canada’s Plant Hardiness Zones?

The original plant hardiness zones were developed in the early 1960s through regression models of several climatic parameters and plant survival data from many locations across the country.

Since the ’60s, Canada’s climate has changed, as well as the techniques used to gather climate data.

The zones have been remapped from 1961-1990 using modern climate interpolation techniques.

You can check out the article here in the Canadian Journal Of Plant Science for more information on the methods used to gather climate data.

How To Find Your Grow Zone

You can use Canada’s Plant Hardiness Grow Map to find your grow zone. 

It combines information about a variety of climatic conditions across the entire country to produce this single map:

Canada's Plant Hardiness Map
Natural Resources Canada also has a pretty great index where you can find your plant hardiness zone by municipality. 

This allows you to pick the specific region you are growing in and it will give you the current plant hardiness zone.

For example, we are growing in Grafton, Ontario and this index told me we are in grow zone 6a. 

plant hardiness grow zone municipality
What Does Your Grow Zone Mean?

Here’s the thing, plant hardiness zones are most useful for perennial plants since perennials are meant to live beyond just one growing season.

Perennials need to be able to survive winter in your area, so it’s important to know how cold it typically gets and whether a particular plant is hardy enough to survive those temps.

But, Kathy, aren’t most vegetables annuals?

Yes, yes they are.

This is why it is typically more important to pay attention to the number of frost-free days in your area, rather than your particular grow zone.

The length of the growing season and average temps can vary greatly from one area to the next.

Most veggie seed packages refer to the number of days to maturity (DTM) rather than grow zones as a means of measuring how long a crop takes to develop from planting to harvesting.

Bottom Line

If you are a grower, you should know your plant hardiness zone for reference sake.

Just keep in mind that grow zones are most useful for perennial plants, whereas climate zones are most useful for annuals (most veggies).

Most seed catalogs that I have looked at for vegetables state the DTM, not the grow zone, so it’s very important that you know how many frost-free days your area has in order to grow crops suited to your environment.

I go into more detail on climate zones here if you would like more information.

What’s your grow zone? Let us know in the comments below.

Stay Local,

Kathy & Jon

your friendly neighbourhood growers



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