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USDA Hardiness Zone

When deciding or planning what types of fish and plants to run in your aquaponics system, the USDA Hardiness Zone tells information that is helpful to knowing what and when to plant.

USDA Hardiness Zone has other information, but here is a summary of the USDA Hardiness Zone for Mesa, AZ, which is Zone 9a:
USDA Hardiness Map

USDA Hardiness Zone:
Zone 9a: 20F to 25F
PlantMaps Hardiness Zone:
Zone 9a: 20F to 25F
Days Where Temp Exceeds 86°F:
151 – 180 days
Freeze Data:
Average First Frost December 1 – 10
Average Last Frost: February 11 – 20
Current Drought Data:
Drought Conditions: Normal
Palmer Drought Index: -1.20
Precip Needed to End Drought: 1.41
Local Climate Data
Mon Min F Max F Precip In.
Jan 39 67 .97
Feb 42 71 .99
Mar 46 76 1.16
Apr 50 84 .31
May 58 93 .18
Jun 66 103 .07
Jul 75 105 .88
Aug 74 103 1.12
Sep 68 98 .85
Oct 56 88 .79
Nov 44 75 .77
Dec 39 67 .97
Ann 55 86 9.06

Planting Based on Hardiness Zone

Now that you know your general temperature range, you can plan your crops. http://www.gardenate.com/?zone=115 is a list of things that should grow and when to plant in Mesa, AZ. What is your zone?

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Luther Noah November 23, 2013, 11:38 am

    I live in Ms in a 7b area. I am going to build a 100 gallon tank for my aquapontics system. It will be inside a hot house. What is the best fish and vegetables to grow? And also, can I grow them year round if I keep them warm ?

    • james December 23, 2013, 12:04 pm

      The entire system should never go below freezing (because bacteria will die), and if you keep it cool year round (below 40F) you can use trout. What are the native fish for your area? Catfish and crappie do well when temperatures dip down to 40F and can tolerate 85F or higher too if they are native to that environment. Remember that you must match the plants to the temperature as well. Things won’t fruit at 40F (most things anyway). Your greens and cold weather crops will grow just fine though. Also, at lower temperatures there is more oxygen, but less bacteria to process waste. So, if you are constantly running cold on your system, you won’t have as much processing power or as many nutrients to get to the plants.

    • james December 31, 2013, 2:40 pm

      100 gallons is fine (but a bit small) and with up to 200 square feet of grow bed, you can fit up to 30lbs of fish. 30 lbs of fish is about 1 fish every 2 weeks if tilapia – other fish grow about half that speed. You’ll need to vent your hothouse, and the ideal temperature for tilipia is about 78-82F. You can also just keep it above freezing (but still the ideal is 78F) and use native fish combos like catfish+bluegill/crappie and even goldfish+gambosia. If you want simple, and don’t want to eat the fish, goldfish/gambousia might be easiest, they work well together eating mosquitos and just about any food you want to fit. I had 7 inch goldfish in mine and the did not eat the one inch gambousia or their babies. You can also try other fish like pacu, striped bass, or any native fish to area 7b. The main consideration with fish is if you can feed them and keep their temperatures ideal for their health.

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