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Gardening in the North Country and Local Food Sources: Cold Climate Gardening

Do you want to grow your own food, or find locally grown food in our northern New York region? Or do you want to beautify your landscape or help the environment? We have resources for you!

Books about Cold Climate Gardening at your Library

Winter Can Be Cold Around Here!

Gardeners and farmers in our region have developed methods to overcome or work with the short growing season.  First, become familiar with hardiness zones.  Our area ranges from Zone 3b in the high peaks to 5a in much of the Champlain Valley. You can visit a live, zoomable version of this map at

Once you know your zone, you'll see it in seed and plant catalogs and at nurseries, helping you buy appropriately.

Ways to Extend the Season

If you love gardening and don't want the season to end, or just want some tips for dealing with the short season, here are some resources from the Clinton Cooperative Extension.

Winter Composting - How to prepare the compost pile for winter, and what to do during the winter and spring.

Starting Seeds at Home - Some plants need a head start so that they can reach maturity during our short season.

Tips for Lengthening the Season - What to do for your lawn and flowers in the fall to keep them going longer

Extending the Season with Tunnels, Covers and Tents - Advice on how to protect your tender vegetables in the early and late part of the season.

Good Websites for Cold Climate Gardening


Subject Guide

Know Your First and Last Freeze Dates

Many garden plants can be killed by frost.  That's why it's good to know what dates are safe to plant, and when you should harvest. There's nothing worse than a bumper crop of tomatoes on the vine getting hit by an early frost!

Many sites offer a way to look up the first and last frost days by zip code of by hardiness zone.  This one from Dave's Garden gives a particularly easy to understand result: