Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tropical heat wave strikes Cheyenne

I got tomatoes out the ying-yang and it's only January 28!

I exaggerate. But not by much. Cheyenne is now officially in a warmer zone in the USDA's "Plant Hardiness Zone Map." Our high-and-dry-and-cold climate once was in zone 4, which could be described this way: "Don't put your mater plants in the ground until after Memorial Day. And be prepared for frost the day after Memorial Day. And raging hailstorms the day after the day after Memorial Day."

Now we're in zone 5. Planting before Memorial Day is now permitted, even encouraged. Not so fast, says Shane Smith at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. This is from the CBG web site: 
Cheyenne used to be solidly in zone 4 is now one full zone warmer, zone 5. “Because this map is mostly based upon temperature, it doesn’t account for Cheyenne’s extreme winds and lack of winter snow cover. Therefore, I would caution people to not jump blindly into growing zone 5 plants and instead look at what is proven to do well here,” said Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Director Shane Smith. Cheyenne gardeners should instead stick to following the colder, zone 4 designation especially when selecting trees and shrubs, stated Smith.
I trust Shane's judgement. High Plains gardeners have to be cautious. However, as global warming continues -- and if I live long enough -- outdoor tomatoes in January may be possible.

1 comment:

phil lack said...

Mike, I hope you did not have your maters out this year (2013)..