How to Tell Which Vegetables Will Grow in Zone 2
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Harry Wishwood
Posted on: November 26, 2005

We live in zone 2 and plant vegetables OUTDOORS. How can we determine which of the vegetable seeds you offer are compatible with zone 2? (You don’t seem to indicate this in your vegetable seed descriptions.)

Zone ratings are only meaningful for plants that are perennial. They indicate in which zones a given plant will survive the winter. For annuals, including vegetables, the important number is the days to harvest or days to maturity. For those vegetables that are tender and can’t tolerate any frost at all, you need to compare that number to the number of consecutive frost-free days that you can provide in your garden. That number includes both the free-free days outdoors plus any growing time indoors in a greenhouse or house. For example, Roma tomato is 75 days. If your frost-free period is 60 days, you would need to start your plants indoors 15 days early and then transplant out once the risk of frost is passed in spring. Actually, this is a bit simplistic: you really want a longer period so that you can reap repeat harvests before the first frosts in fall. So if your frost-free period is only 60 days then you need to plant much earlier indoors. Or, you may decide that the long indoor phase is not worth the bother. Some vegetables are quite hardy and can tolerate late spring frosts; for example, cabbage, kale and leek. For these you can add 5-10 days to your frost-free period for the purposes of the calculation.

Unfortunately we only provide the days to maturity for some of our vegetables. If any vegetables you want to grow do not have a number in our descriptions, please write and we will get that information for you.

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