Ok, so I've done a bit more homework, and have concluded that, in spite of major advances in computing, finding a hardiness map that shows my precise location is really difficult. I can see my state, but I'm at the border between two zones and when I search for average yearly temps, I get values that don't jive with what I remember from last year.
So here's the rundown on my climate here:
long winters, with frost as late as April and as early as October. Typically a heavy snowfall, with low temps (including windchill) around -5. In the summer, highs in the 90's. The area is very fertile and green, so I think I'm in zone 5b.
Also, my mom tells me to stop using the little peat pots -- she says that it's not a renewable resource, and I should consider it like oil: once gone, not replaced. So I'm getting some vegetable compost (not quite on board with the manure just yet)and topsoil and starting seed in little
I actually have some biodegradable coffee bags (when you buy it by the pound) so I used a few to put my basil seedlings in there. I also used some carry-out containers for the smaller seedlings.
To justify the cost, I'm not allowed to eat out (after today, as I forgot a lunch) as a substitute for cooking at home. If I'm meeting friends, that's ok, but for a day to day basis, I'm not going to spend the $$. This eases my mind a little about the cost of the dirt.
It's been a lot of fun reading about the different gardens. Here's some of the sites I really like:
You Grow Girl I love this site.
Victory Seeds (I got some seeds from them, but haven't tried them yet)
Seed Savers (haven't bought, but like the site)