Once you understand the various kinds of planting zone map and look at the list of edible plants you love, you might come to realize that a plant you really want to have in your edible landscape doesn't fit the climate that the map says you have. This page is about how to fix that.
For example, you might love bananas. You love the way they look, you love eating them, they are your favorite fruit. But the planting zone map and all your research says they won't grow where you live. It's too cold, it's too dry, it's too windy. What do you do?
Let's think about it:
If you remember, there are various kinds of planting zones:
In our example, the banana is a tropical climate plant. It likes moist heat. That's how it best grows. Frost will kill the exposed leaves, and a hard freeze can kill the whole plant, if it's not established. Too much wind will knock it over. Not enough water and it dies. Poor drainage and it gets root rot. Too hot or too cold and it stops growing.
So if you live in zone 3 or in a wind tunnel or in the desert, does this mean you can't grow bananas? According to the planting zone map ... no, you can't.
But what these maps and numbers are telling you is what the plant needs, and what your general area has. The maps don't know your particular yard, and they don't know how badly you want to grow bananas.
So never fear! There are strategies we can use to help even the worst mismatch of plant lover and their climate.
There are many varieties of a particular plant, and some are better suited to shorter or longer days, colder or hotter weather, or have a shorter or longer growing season. Tomatoes -- originally a tropical fruit -- have varieties that can be grown almost anywhere in the world.
When you're looking at a particular edible plant, investigate different varieties of the plant. Which one thrives in a climate closest to yours?
If you live in zone 6 on your planting zone map, and you want to grow a plant with a normal range of zones 8-11, and the best one you find is a variety (also called a cultivar) that grows in zone 7, get it. (you might actually want to get two, in case this one dies, so you'll still have one).
Relax, I'll explain.
Microclimatology is the study of microclimates -- the climates of limited areas, such as houses or communities.
Today, we're going to study your yard.
You know your hardiness zone. You know your heat zone. You know your general climate (or what it's supposed to be -- the way the weather has been going, you never can tell anymore). But what we want to look at is your particular piece of property and how it's situated.
If you've already made a map of your property, add this information in. You'll begin to see a pattern as to where certain plants should go.
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