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Growing A Successful Garden In Various Climates

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For thousands (maybe millions) of Americans, gardening isn’t just a hobby – it’s their passion. Unfortunately, today’s rapidly changing climate threatens the gardening habits to which most people have become accustomed. Read on to learn how to grow a successful garden in different climates.

RELATED: 6 Ideas and Tips for Small Gardens | Gardening in a small space

Gardening with Climate Change | 7 tips for gardening in different climates

1. Invest in a garden or soil thermometer

Due to climate change, many gardeners are experiencing the shift in the usual timing of gardening. Unseasonal frosts and early blooms are some of the signals of this shift that old gardeners are scratching their heads.

On a larger scale, the effects of these changes can include:

  • Unpredictable growing seasons due to changing precipitation patterns and higher average temperatures.
  • The proliferation of alien and invasive plants as they take advantage of weakened ecosystems.
  • The end of some indigenous cult plants that cannot adapt to changes in climate.
  • The breaking of vital links between pollinators and plants as they arrive either too late or too early to feed on flowers they normally rely on.

These effects can also have a negative impact on smaller home gardeners. For example, bees may miss the important pollination cycle that affects home grown flowers and vegetables because they arrive late.

In addition, frost dates are also being postponed. Because of this, gardeners plant at different times than they did a few years ago. Unfortunately, some plants may stop thriving completely under current conditions.

An inexpensive way to deal with these shifts is to use a floor thermometer. This should help you measure the temperature of the soil and give you a better idea of ​​what is going on below the surface. It gives you an idea of ​​when it is time to plant your garden plants.

In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also provided a frost / frost date probability map. This should help you determine the current average frost data. It will give you a better idea of ​​when it is time to plant your garden plants.

2. Get to know the changes in the plant hardiness zones

Plant trees | Gardening

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a map that defines the average range of climatic conditions in a given geographic area that are relevant to the survival and growth of plants. In recent years, many states have already moved at least 1 full zone on the Plant Hardiness Scale.

When planning what plants to grow in your garden, it may be wiser to choose varieties that will do well in both humid and dry climates. Consider planting for the climate you already know as well as the climate you may have in the future.

This is especially important when planting long-lived species like trees. It might work just fine in today’s climate, but that may not be true in 20 years’ time.

3. Know what to do when there isn’t enough water

Organic compost | Gardening

The changing climate has resulted in longer summer and fall seasons and shorter spring seasons. This creates drought-like conditions that often cause the soil to harden into a crust. This, in turn, makes it difficult for water to penetrate and makes it difficult for the soil to store water that plants can absorb.

To even out these conditions, try adding organic compost, which will improve the conditions of the soil. Compost binds particles that hold not only water but also nutrients in place. They prevent water from simply penetrating too quickly for the roots to absorb.

Another way to protect plants from drought-like conditions is through mulching. It retains moisture, mitigates fluctuations in soil temperature and helps prevent plant stress.

Mulch helps protect plant root systems that can be pushed out of the ground. This often happens when the soil expands and contracts as it heats and cools. In addition, mulch helps regulate the temperature, especially during periods of high heat.

4. Know what to do when there is too much water

Trenches | Gardening

Sudden rains can damage crops as well as unpredictable drought-like conditions. They can erode garden soil and flood seed beds. However, the correct precautions can reduce the effects of too much water.

Digging is a way of providing water as a focal point in the event of sudden heavy rainfall. Digging shallow trenches between rows in your garden beds (or planting plants in hilly soil) will allow water to flow more freely.

In addition, trenches can also serve as “compost trenches”. Unfinished compost can be placed here where it is easily available for planting roots.

Placing deeper trenches in strategic locations in your yard can channel excess water into safe areas for overflows. The contours of your garden will determine the type of digging you should be doing. In general, these trenches should be 12 or more deep.

Just think about safety when digging them. Make sure you dig them far enough so people can see when they are walking through your yard. If they need to be narrow, cover them with boards sturdy enough to support a person’s weight.

RELATED: Outdoor Herb Garden | A Beginner’s Guide to Survival Gardening

5. Keep plants warm with straw

Straw | Gardening

In cold weather, one way to keep plants warm is with some old-school animal litter. You can bury your plants in about a foot of straw. If you also take care of livestock, their soiled straw will be even better. If available, pine needles can also be used to fill the straw.

When the weather warms up again, you can expose the plants. With this simple and quick cold protection method, you would only lose a few days of growth instead of weeks when transplanting.

6. Try gardening cloches

Plant frost | Gardening

If you don’t have access to contaminated animal bedding, you can also use cloches. These are small, transparent covers that gardeners use to protect young plants from frost.

These are usually available from gardening supply stores. If it doesn’t, a DIY solution is to reuse those gallon milk jugs.

Do this by simply cutting off the bottom of a gallon milk jug. Then partially bury the pitcher around each plant to prevent it from being blown away. In addition, you can put the cap on even when the temperature is below zero. You can also take it off once the temperatures rise.

7. Consider using greenhouses

Greenhouse | Gardening

One of the best gardening tips regardless of the climate is to use a greenhouse. This is great protection for your garden, especially in the late winter months.

A few years ago, greenhouses only existed on large farms. Nowadays they even show up in small backyard gardens.

The modern greenhouses that most people use today use high quality, break-resistant plastics instead of the glass that is used in older models. Plus, the cost of it has come down as new models are now available for backyard gardeners.

A small entry-level greenhouse in the back yard provides protection for seedlings so gardeners can start planting early. This is useful today as the spring seasons are getting shorter. Once these seedlings are in place, year-round plants like tomatoes can take their place in the greenhouse, as these will thrive better if the foliage stays dry.

Larger greenhouses can also provide space and the right conditions for year-round harvests. With these, gardeners can also produce plants in their backyards all year round.

Would you like to try gardening in greenhouses? Know what type of greenhouse to build using this video courtesy of Bigelow Brook Farm:

Knowing how to adapt to different climates is crucial if you want your garden to thrive. With the gardening tips listed above, make sure that your gardening activities are not disrupted by climatic changes.

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Do you have further questions about gardening in different climates? Ask them any questions in the comments section below!

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