A USDA zone map will ensure proper direction when it comes to growing any plant or vegetable. When reading a USDA zone map, it will not only tell you if a plant is suitable for growth in your area, but it can further break down which area is best or worst for growing within your own state. You can also type in your zip code or list your state to get a sense of the average temperate in your local area. Match that temperature to which ever temperature your plant needs to thrive. A USDA zone map is not a final authority and just because the temperatures do not match when it comes to growing plants does not mean you have to rule out growing the plants you want; it simply means that you may have to pay more attention to a plant if it is growing in a more hostile zone.
Those plants that not compatible in a USDA zone map in certain areas can also be gown in- doors. You also might be able to get away with growing incompatible plants during more sunny seasons if you live in the north, but your plant will requires lots of sunshine. If you live in an area that gets plenty of rain and snow then you might want to consider using artificial light for plants that require direct sunshine. Placing your plants by window sills is also a great way to grow plants indoors that are not necessarily compatible with a USDA zone map.
First-time gardeners and those planning to grow a certain type of fruit or veggie should use a USDA zone map to guide them in the right direction. It is a pretty simple map to read; southern areas are most fertile while far northern and northeast areas will have harder time supporting many plants. As much as you may want to grow certain plants, sometimes the climate and terrain in your area simply will not support your desired plants. If you are someone who wants to grow many plants, but cannot because of where you live then you may want to consider moving to a warmer climate where you can grow as many thriving plants as you want. There are also rare plants out there that are more adaptable to colder weather. Apple trees, carrots and cucumbers are more suited to colder weather so it is possible to grow fruits and veggies in colder climates. Find out which plants are more suited to colder climates. They do exist, and all it takes is a little research.
A USDA zone map will provide an overall visual of the types of plants that can be supported in your local area. If you are someone who enjoys gardening, but is frustrated because your local area cannot support the plants you want to grow then use the USDA zone map system to your advantage and find creative ways to get around those zoning codes. It is possible to grow cactus plants in places like Alaska, but it takes some planning and strategy.