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Basic question

 
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Exposing my newbie status here:  I see references to zones in many listings.  how do I determine my zone?
 
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The little map on a seed pack shows the zones
 
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Hi Lenore;

There are two types of Zones that are usually discussed here. One is the USDA growing zone/climate, as described here

The other type of Zone is used in permaculture discussions to talk about the different areas on your property, organized according to how often you go there, and how much time is spent there. Zone 1 is generally closest to the house - front yard, kitchen garden, etc., places you go every day, and which need intensive management. Zone 2 is a little further out from the house, perhaps the larger garden, barn, etc, where you may not need to go every day, but still needs quite a bit of time and management. And on, until you reach Zone 5, which is the wild untouched forest.

There is a really good description of planning permaculture Zones here.

I hope that helps!

Cheers
Tracy
 
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Here you go:

http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

Just type in your zip code.
 
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