Southwestern Gardening Zone 5
Share My Love of Gardening
Please enjoy the tips and information for gardening in Zone 5 and arid climates. Share the beauty of a wonderous garden. I will have general information, information addressing specific gardening problems, xeriscape, rock gardens and more.
I have been gardening, in some way, for over twenty years. I started with container gardens when I lived in a townhome. I really caught the gardening bug when I moved into a newly built home. It had nothing but weeds, a rock wall, 10x10 cement patio and a front sidewalk.
I asked so many questions at my local nursery (and basically lived at the nursery), that the owner eventually hired me. Guess that's one way to take care of a garden pest...or should that be gardener pest?
I have to say, I find gardening relaxing and therapeutic. There is a certain zen experience about digging in the soil. I know the hardwork I put into it will be rewarded with beautiful blooms and satisfaction.
I hope what I share will help you catch the gardening bug too.
Basic Tools You Will Need - Being prepared will make your gardening experience better
I use my tool tote and pack it with the items and tools I know I will need for the task at hand. It saves having to make numerous trips to the garage and helps me get into the zen of the gardening. I always go out with a good pair of gloves, shovel, trowel, clippers for deadheading, and a hori knife to tackle stubborn roots or trimming woody or tough plants.
Plant a Garden; Plant Some Hope
Southwestern gardening presents its own challenges. The growing season is short, the soils tend to be sandy or clay mixed with rocks, the summers are dry and the winters are harsh. Not the ideal for gardening bliss.
Why would anyone try to garden in a desert or harsh mountainous terrain? Because when something works you get a sense of accomplishment and pride.
You know you had to pick the right plant, amend the soil, allow for the correct water and sun exposure, and run out to protect your babies every time they were threatened by hail or high winds.
Despite the hard work, expense, sweat and scraped knuckles, gardening is a worthy pursuit. It is odd, but I consider it one of my greatest contributions to society.
In August, I received an anonymous note on my front door thanking me for my garden. I frequently have people stop and view the front gardens during their daily walks. I've seen children on their hands and knees smelling the flowers in the gardens (sometimes they pick a few for their mom). I plant enough, so as long as they don't destroy the plants, I have no problem with sharing.
In a world filled with economic turmoil, civil unrest, war and uncertainty, it is my way of reminding people there is still hope.
Visit me at https://www.facebook.com/FourthEstateGal for additional gardening articles on zone 5 in Colorado.
Know Your Zone - (Don't Worry, it's Easy)
Tackle first things first. Before you make a plan for your yard or plant any plants, you will need to determine your gardening zone.
Knowing your zone will help you select the right plants for your garden. There are other considerations before you buy plants, but knowing your zone is the first step.
Don't stress here, you will determine your zone by looking at a zone map or asking your local nursery. It is my experience that the most commonly used zone map in the United States is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Most plant labels, books and magazines refer to the USDA zone map.
Another helpful zone map is produced by the American Horticultural Society (AHS). It is a heat zone map. While the USDA map focuses on plant hardiness at minimum temperatures, the AHS map focuses on heat extremes. In areas (like Colorado), it is helpful to know both extremes. You will be able to select the hardiest plants to fit the temperature extremes in your garden. You can visit the American Horticultural website at American Horticultural website to get additional information.
No matter which zone map you are using, they all give you information regarding average temperatures and the length of the growing season in your area. You'll want to compare this information to your plant label. The plant label will not always give you the plant zone, but will normally provide you with the temperature range, light requirements, water requirements along with the average height and spread of the plant.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is not copyrighted and is in the public domain.
Reference to American Horticultural Society and link to website used with written permission from AHS, all rights reserved and may not be reproduced without written permission.
Need Some Great Ideas - Great Books to Get You Started
I love reading about gardening (and seeing photos of my dream gardens) almost as much as gardening. Here's some you may wish to keep handy.
Know Your Microclimate
(Yes, there's more to zones)
Within each general zone, like zone 5, there are microclimates. Zone 5 can be a 5a or a 5b. The USDA map shows zone 5 has average minimum termperatures of -20 F to -10 F degrees (-28.8 to -23.4 degrees C). In microclimate zone 5a these tempuratures are 5 degrees colder and in 5b they are 5 degrees warmer.
By keeping a gardening journal and calendar for my garden, I discovered my zone was actually 5a. No wonder my plants bloomed a few weeks after they bloomed in yards less than a mile away. Because my home sits up on a hill, and is not protected by any foothills or bluffs, I got more snowfall and lower temperatures due to wind chill.
Every gardener becomes a bit of a weather watcher. Just like a mother bundles up their kids before sending them off to school, you will find yourself bundling up your plants too.
Know Your Zone Poll
Did You Research Your Zone
What readers are saying about Southwestern Gardening Zone 5