Spring is getting warmer, and whatever your thoughts about global climate change are, that's changing the region's growing season.
According to a recent story originally reported by National Public Radio, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has, for the first time since 1990, changed growing seasons and zones for California's microclimates.
"Now the zones have shifted northward," the article stated. "The new map shows that in much of the country, winters aren't as cold as they used to be, and spring planting comes earlier."
Rohnert Park's zone is 9B — an identity that delineates which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. According to the USDA, the map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree farenheit zones.
So if you're wondering why your apargus, beets and lima beans aren't sprouting yet, it could be because the planting time has already passed. According to the new map, now's the time to plant fruits and veggies, like watermelon, lettuces and tomatoes.
The new gardening zones article, publised first in January, didn't detail whether or not the shift in growing regions was because of climate change or just better mapping. NPR's food blog, "The Salt," explains:
The nationwide shift in the planting season provoked lots of questions about just how much to attribute to climate change. USDA officials, while introducing their new map to reporters, insisted that they were making no claims about global warming.
Some of the shifting zone boundaries, they said, were the result of more sophisticated mapping. For the first time, the new map takes into account the effects of elevation, large lakes, and whether a place is located in a valley or on top of a ridge. They admitted, however, that most of the changes were due to using temperature data from recent years, which have been relatively toasty.
What do you think? What's growing in your garden? Share your green thumb tips with readers, in case, like me, you're seeking help on your garden!