Gardening along the North Coast can be tricky because of the influence of the Greak Lakes on temperatures. When identifying zones either 5 or 6 can be accurate depending on what local conditions prevail and what 'micro-climate' might influence your garden.
I've been told that the lake's influence, on average, extends 40-miles from shore. But I have no confidence that total protection in winter or delay in spring is dependable. Still, apple, cherry and peach orchards are so successful here for good reason, and proximity to the Great Lakes is probably, at least in part, why.
North Coast gardeners interested in exchanging information can join NY Gardners group on Yahoo. To join click here