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Gardening: Know Your Climate

By Edited Jul 10, 2016 0 0

   I garden in the city of Tacoma,WA. In western Washington State we have long, cool summers. We also have long, rainy springs. Fall, is usually cool and wet here in western Washington. The operative words, as you may have noticed are cool and wet. We have a very long growing season, but the temperatures rarely rise above 80 degrees and then may only stay warm for a week or two at a time. Winter is wet and cool too; frost is possible, but temperatures below 30 degrees are usually and snow is rare. Why am I telling you all of this? This is the climate I garden in which means with very little effort I can raise lettuce and greens all year around. I can grow great broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and peas. However, in my climate it's a challenge to grow tomatoes, eggplant and corn. I can grow raise decent beans and summer squash in a good year. I can grow carrots, beets, and radishes. I can usually manage to grow pumpkins and winter squash. Melons? If I treated them like frail and sickly invalids and took extensive measures to give them the heat and sun they need to thrive; maybe would grow. I can't raise yams or sweet potatoes or peanuts; it's just not hot enough long enough. I can grow lots of different sorts of berries with hardly any effort.In fact, berries of many varieties are grown here commercially. I can't not grow citrus well without a greenhouse. Grapes do well if they are early ripening varieties. I didn't know until quite recently that kiwi and figs also do very well in my area; and I've lived here all my life.

   So I have choices I can(and have!) learn to love what does  well in my particular climate. I can(and do) grow plants that are a challenge in my climate. For example,when  I plant tomatoes and peppers I choose short season varieties and I baby them outrageously. I plant them in the warmest, sunniest place in my garden, I use red plastic mulch and I water the tomatoes with sun warmed water. Consider your climate. Consider how much effort you are willing to put into raising plants that don't do particularly well in your climate.  Are you clueless about what grows well?  Ask around; ask friends and neighbors who grow plants well, ask at local plant nurseries. Chances are good that many of your favorites will grow in your climate. If they don't... get creative. Try planting them in a different season or a different part of your yard.  Gardening, after all, is about more than harvesting a beefsteak tomato in a lettuce growing climate.



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