Working in tune with your local climate
is one of most important success factors with organic gardening.
Climate change has complicated the picture for vegetable gardeners,
but there is a silver lining. With the right knowledge at the right
time, food gardeners can actually grow more because of climate
Changing climate has in general brought
greater extremes of temperatures with warmer and longer summers and
often more extreme cold in winter, but on average, higher
temperatures throughout the year. Food gardeners are finding that
choosing vegetable crops with the methods they have always used is
giving them results they don't expect.
For many gardeners, figuring out when
its right to plant vegetables is based on one or more of the
What they have always done
- This is reliable so long as it has worked in the past, but
climate change alters the picture.
Planting calendars - Most
planting calendars use very broad zones for recommendations which do
not account for local temperature variances. These zones are based
on climate definitions which may be up to 100 years old. So with
temperatures changing, the zones are becoming more inaccurate each
Advice from a nursery -
Seedlings are often grown in temperature controlled environments and
may come from thousands of kms away, so it very possible they are
not in season for your local climate.
Emotion - Whenever you do
things in the garden without some objective thought, the results
will invariably tell you to go back to drawing board.
Vegetables are very sensitive to
temperatures at planting and over their growing period. Frost is a
killer for many vegetables. If you plant too early or too late in the
season you may be hit with frost. If it is hotter earlier in the
season, there are many crops you could get underway which you would
not normally grow at that time and because of extended warm periods
you could be staging your crops for much greater production. There
may be crops that you thought would not grow at all, but are actually
now very suitable for your climate.
In a changing climate, the biggest
opportunities for a healthier and more productive garden are:
Extending your cropping time due
to more heat and by becoming more aware of protecting your plants
from frost and temperature extreme's.
Planting new crops that were not
previously suited to your climate.
Reducing the potential for crop
loss by getting more accurate with your planting times.
Our web site planting calendar has been
specifically designed to deal with these three opportunities . We
have detailed local climate information and climate profiles for all
the food plants in our web site. So you don't need to know how to
work through climate data, our Gardener subscriber planting calendar
does it for you at the click of a mouse. It incorporates:
Local temperatures -
Averages over the last 7-20 years (Australia, NZ and USA) . Its
fascinating to see how much average temperatures have changed in
Australia over the last 100 years compared to the last 10. Our web
site deals with this climate change by you simply choosing your
closest weather station to create your climate profile and you can
easily fine tune this for your location in relation to the weather
station and for micro-climates you may have created in your garden.
Frost data - Our site
incorporates frost data for all the weather stations (Australia only
at this point) so you can see your frost profile and easily
manipulate the profile if you can protect your plants from frost,
thereby increasing the number of plants you can select and your
Detailed climate profiles on
more than 130 vegetables and herbs - These are all matched to
your climate profile in the site calendar so when you search by day,
by month or by crop and you get a list of ideal or OK crops to work
with. This not only gives you the best times to plant the crops you
know, but opens up the opportunity find crops you have not worked
Climate warnings - Based
on averages, the site tell you when there will be frost days, too
much heat or cold during the growing period of the crops you have
selected, so you can have advance warning to protect your plants.
In these times of climate change, the
objective knowledge on planting and climate in our Gardener subscriber site and its ease
of use, gives you the power to make timely decisions on managing your
vegetable garden. It will help you to have greater success in your
Author - Peter Kearney -