Vermont Hardiness Zones: 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b
Vermont, known as “The Green Mountain State,” is largely covered by mountains and forests. The state tends to be on the cooler side, with summer highs reaching about 80 degrees.
The higher up in the mountains, the cooler the temperatures. Due to many changes in elevation, Vermont’s typical temperatures can vary from location to location.
Vermont receives a high amount of precipitation spread evenly throughout the year. Summers tend to be warm and rainy, while winters are cold with a large amount of snow. Vermont has the largest amount of yearly snowfall in the United States of America.
The frost-free growing season begins in early May, which can feel like a late start. This can be combated by growing starters indoors or in greenhouses. When you take into consideration which hardiness zone you are growing in, you can grow a very successful garden.
- Southern Vermont tends to be the warmest area of the state, with much of the region in either hardiness zone 5a or 5b. This area will have the longest growing season in the state.
- Mountain towns in the south may move to hardiness zone 4b when in higher altitudes
- Most of northeast Vermont remains in zones 4a, with certain areas getting down to 3b
- The northern area of Vermont near Lake Champlain is a slightly warmer area due to the buffering effect coming off the lake
- Areas in a lower hardiness zone have shorter growing seasons, while the southern areas that are in zone 5 will have longer seasons
Above you will find a hardiness zone map of Vermont based on the 2012 USDA map data. This map is used by farmers and gardeners to decipher what plants will grow best in their region and what their growing season looks like. The lower the hardiness zone, the shorter the growing season in your area.
To figure out what growing zones you are living in, in Vermont, find your region on the map. You can also look it up by zip code. Then you find what color your area is on the map and compare that with the legend. The legend will tell you which growing zone you live in.
Use this information to see how long your growing season is likely to be. Also make sure that when choosing plants for your garden, you choose plants that will thrive in your zone.
It is important to remember that the growing zone is just a guideline. There are ways that you can manipulate your growing season, such as starting plants indoors and moving them outside once the frost-free season has begun, or by moving plants indoors so they can survive winter.
There is no doubt that Vermont’s growing season is short, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow a successful garden. There are many plants that will still perform well in Vermont and farmers and gardeners alike have developed many tricks to make the most of the time they’ve got.
According to B and B Nurseries, there is a good range of vegetables that can grow in Vermont. Try growing broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and squash in your garden this year. A great solution to ensure full maturity is to begin these plants indoors in early spring and move outside after the last frost.
In Vermont, it is helpful to extend the growing season however you can. An article in Vermont Maturity suggests using a variety of greenhouses, or greenhouse-like structures. This can be as simple as using burlap or other fabric to cover plants in the early spring or late fall to prevent frost damage.
Other great suggestions include “cold frames,” which are similar to a small greenhouse, container planting which allows you to plant in warm soil sooner than the ground thaws, and building a greenhouse right in your own yard.
With all of this in mind, it is absolutely possible to create a great garden in Vermont. Use the tips of the gardeners and farmers who have come before you and enjoy the fruits of your labor this year.