For anyone who has just moved to a new area or is just beginning to take an interest in gardening, finding out what hardiness zone you live in is essential for a successful experience.
History of Hardiness Zones
United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zones were developed during the 1920s, separating the United States and Canada into 11 zones as a way to classify what plants could survive in a specific area. These planting zones were established by the USDA to define the minimum winter temperatures of an area. By applying data of hardiness zones using data for temperature extremes and the amount and distribution of rainfall, gardeners can evaluate whether a plant will grow well in their area.
Zone 6 is defined as having a minimum temperature of -10 to 0 degrees F. According to the United States National Arboretum, zone 6 runs from the state of Washington down to northern Arizona and stretches all the way across the country to Pennsylvania. Zone 6 is defined by having its lowest recorded temperatures rarely dropping below -10 degrees.
Choose the Herb That will Grow in Your Zone
Before you plant be sure to read about the herbs you want to grow. If they are not hardy to zone 6, then don't put too much effort into planting them. You will only become discouraged when they die. If you insist on growing tender herbs like lemon verbena or basil, then grow them indoors.
Herbs for Zone 6
Here is a list of some herbs that will tolerate partial shade in zone 6. For a healthy garden, you should plant these herbs where they can receive at least six hours of sunlight a day: basil thyme, chives, wild garlic, tarragon, white sage, chamomile, cilantro/coriander, cone flower, alpine strawberry, St. John's wort, wild rosemary lavender, osage orange, lemon balm, mint and spearmint.
More herbs that will tolerate partial shade in zone 6 are lemon scented thyme, catnip, Greek oregano, sweet marjoram, oregano, yellow wood sorrel, Russian sage, parsley, creeping rosemary, rosemary, wrinkle-leaved sage, garden sage, balsamic sage, summer savory, winter savory, American germander and wild thyme.
Tips for Growing Herbs
Herbs are a wonderful addition to any garden. For centuries, man has grown herbs for both culinary and medicinal uses.
Before you plant, prepare your soil. Dig up your garden bed and add compost to the soil until it's dark, loose and crumbly. Herbs grow best in a well-drained bed. Healthy plants need the just the right mixture of water, air and nutrients. Amend your soil by mixing in sand and organic matter.