Weather and climate play a major part in your garden. Pocono weather can vary widely from one town to the next. Mount Pocono and Gouldsboro can receive a foot of snow while just down the road, Greentown only receives a dusting.
The mountainous terrain can also cause very localized frost. The colder air seeps down into the valleys at night. Your neighbor on the hill may be fine, while in your garden the eggplant are destroyed.
The local news stations try to address everyone, but it is up to you to be aware of your garden's microclimate. There are many resources available to you. PoconoGardening.com is just one place you can find information.
The Pocono Mountains stretch across 4 counties: Carbon, Monroe, Pike and Wayne. These counties make up the northeastern corner of the state. The region is bordered by the Delaware River on the north and east, the Endless Mountains and the Susquehanna River on the west and the Lehigh Valley to the south. Technically parts of Luzerne county are in the Pocono Mountain range but most consider that area to be part of the Susquehanna River Valley.
Drought Monitor Map
is provided by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NDMC (National Drought Mitigation Center). This can help you decide if your plants will need supplemental watering.
As of April 24, 2010 the Pocono region is within the normal range.
NOAA also provides a comprehensive map of all current weather advisories through its National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (NWS/SPC). The
map shows everything from tornado, hurricane & flash flood watches to high wind advisories.
Gardening Hardiness Zones
The Poconos lie within Zones 4, 5 and 6. Carbon and Monroe counties are mostly Zone 6. Pike and Wayne are mostly Zone 5. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) provides a map known as the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The USDA map is the one that gardeners in the eastern half of the country rely on most often. You will see it reprinted in most national garden magazines, catalogs, books, etc.
You will see the Plant Hardiness Zone listed in gardening catalogs or on the plant identification stakes in your local nursery. You will generally not have a problem buying plants with the same or a lower Hardiness Zone number than the one in which you live. Higher numbers mean that the plants probably will not winter over in our colder climate. They can either be grown as an annual or a houseplant. If you are willing to put in the time and resources to protect them, plant varieties from one or two zones higher may thrive under your care.
This map divides North America into 11 separate zones. As you progress from 1 thru 11 each zone is 10°F warmer in an average winter than the previous zone. While this is helpful for choosing plants that will do well in your garden, it does not solve the "when is it safe to put out my tomatoes?" dilemma faced by many of us. I like the
html version of the map
found on the National Arboretum website.
Last Frost ~ First Freeze Dates
The National Climate Data Center (NCDC) and NOAA have created resources to assist US gardeners estimate the average dates of the last frost each spring and the first fall freeze. Once you have determined your zone (see above), check the following NCDC maps and charts.
Choose Pennsylvania from the Select a State box. The chart will open as a PDF file.
In addition to the usual Plant Hardiness Zone number you find on nearly every plant in the nursery, more and more growers are adding the American Horticultural Society's Heat Zone information. Heat can be just as damaging to plants as cold. Though its progress may be a little more subtle that freeze damage.
For more information on the AHS Heat Zones and to see (or order) a copy of the map, please go to the their website. You can enter your zipcode into the
AHS Heat Zone Finder
to determine your zone. They also have tons of great information on specific plant cultivars, gardening clubs and events.
Pocono Weather Averages
Just as the snowfall amounts will vary widely from one town to the next, so does just about every other quantifiable weather variable. In general, January is the Poconos coldest month and July is the warmest.
Lunar or Moon Phases
What does the moon have to do with gardening? What is the Flower Moon? Our
has some interesting information.
Each of the four principal counties have their own page with county specific information. This page will cover weather & climate issues that encompass the entire region. For instance, a drought advisory will be posted here and on the county pages, but a county or township burn ban would only be on the county page.