Region Description: Mid-Atlantic
Baltimore MD, Buffalo NY, Erie PA, Harrisburg PA, Newark NJ, New York NY, Philadelphia PA, Pittsburgh PA, Rochester NY, Toronto ONT, Trenton NJ, Washington DC, Wilmington DE
Starting in New York city, the Mid-Atlantic region follows the Atlantic coast south to Washington DC. Turning west following the West Virginia-Pennsylvania border to Ohio, including sections of eastern Ohio going north across Lake Erie to Toronto, Canada, up to Toronto and then south through New York state.
The Mid-Atlantic region has weather influences dictated by the Atlantic Ocean, Great Lakes and Midwest. The Atlantic Ocean moderates temperatures along the zone 7 coast and the temperatures rarely get below 0F. Colder zone 5 winters affect portions of Ohio, New York State and Pennsylvania, often with reliable snow cover. The Great Lakes serve to moderate temperatures somewhat in northern New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, but they add lake effect snow, too -- think Buffalo, NY! Summer tends to be hot and humid, especially along the coast with temperatures consistently above 85F and 65% humidity. Where the climate and precipitation are influenced by the mountains, from the Blue Ridge in West Virginia to the Poconos and Catskills to the north, summer temperatures are more moderate. Moving west away from the coast, the average temperatures for Erie, PA and Youngstown, OH and Buffalo, NY, for example, hover near 80F in July and August with a lower, more comfortable, relative humidity. Spring and fall feature mild, pleasant weather great for planting and harvesting punctuated by the occasional late winter snow storms in April or early frost in September. Just about the only constant across the region is generous precipitation, usually between about 35 and 40 inches evenly distributed throughout the year. This generous pattern is the result of not only Gulf of Mexico moisture tracking up the Appalachians, but also storms (including hurricanes) tracking northward up the coast and, occasionally, storms blowing in westward from the Atlantic across the Outer Banks. In winter, we are affected by the frigid Alberta Clippers and the big Nor'easters that bring wind and snow.
The Growing Season
Across the Mid Atlantic region, our average growing seasons range from the "blink and you'll miss it" 144 days (May to September) in Albany, NY to an eye popping 231 days (April to November) in Baltimore, MD. This makes for a spurt of gardening activity in spring to "get it all in" before the window of opportunity shuts. This is particularly a concern in mountainous areas and far northern areas where cold and shorter days often lead to shorter growing seasons. Trees, shrubs, and perennials grow well in this climate, especially in warmer areas that experience less severe weather extremes. All the traditional annual flower and vegetables can be grown here, with the only exceptions being season extending techniques that may be needed in northern areas for warm season crops such as melons and sweet potatoes. Drought and flooding can sometime be a concern with one following the other in some years.