Region Description: Northern & Central Midwest

Zone Map
USDA Hardiness Zones
3 to 6
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AHS Heat Zones
3 to 8
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Major Cities

Chicago IL, Cleveland OH, Columbus OH, Des Moines IA, Detroit MI, Fargo ND, Indianapolis IN, Kansas City MO, Lincoln NE, Milwaukee WI, Minneapolis MN, Omaha NE, Sioux Falls SD, Springfield IL, St.Louis MO, Winnipeg MAN

The Region

The Northern and Central Midwest region covers a lot of ground, from the northern forests of Minnesota and Wisconsin, to the wheat and cornfields of Iowa, eastern Nebraska and eastern Kansas, to the sandy dunes of Indiana and Michigan, and to the temperate and humid Great Lakes regions of southern Ontario, Michigan, and Ohio.

The Climate

Accordingly this region covers a fairly wide range of temperatures, with one of the coldest cities on the continent located in northern Minnesota (International Falls) in zone 3a to the hot zone 6a areas of southern Missouri. To varying degrees, all areas have cold winters with snow, short springs, cool falls, and hot, humid summers. Precipitation averages between 20 inches a year in western areas to 40 in the southern and eastern areas. Major river systems such as the Missouri and Mississippi can influence areas during flood periods. It generally gets wetter going west to east across the region. Strong winds of the Rockies and localized winds and storms around the Great Lakes can influence the types and amounts of precipitation and temperatures swings. The infamous "tornado alley" is located in this region, spawning numerous and deadly twisters in the plains states down to Texas.

The Growing Season

Last frost range from early April to Memorial Day. In general, spring gardens can be planted mid-March through mid-May. First fall frosts occur from mid September to end of October. In warmer areas fall gardens planted in June and July still can mature in fall. Young trees and shrubs may need windbreaks and protection from drying winter winds. Perennials do best in areas with consistent snow cover such as near the Great Lakes.

View this week's Regional Report for
Northern & Central Midwest »


Published by the National Gardening Association
www.garden.org, www.kidsgardening.com

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