What to Read Now: Warm Climate Gardening

What to Read Now: Warm Climate Gardening

It’s winter here in the northern hemisphere, and farmers and gardeners everywhere are dreaming and planning about what to plant in the spring and summer!

While all gardens have their challenges, those who grow food and flowers in warm and/or arid climates need a special skill set to get their gardens to thrive and produce. Some plants thrive in the warm weather, but most vegetables and fruits begin to experience problems with germination when temperatures are higher (or lower) than the optimal range. Cool season plants like lettuce and broccoli germinate best at 55-70 F (13-21 C), while warm season plants like squash and marigolds germinate best at 70-85 F (21-13 C.). Fruit production and seed set are also effected; for example, tomatoes experience problems when temperatures get higher than 96 degrees F (36 C). I know when I lived in Phoenix, Arizona, we had better luck growing vegetables and soft fruit in the (relatively) milder spring and autumn seasons. The summer could range often from 95 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit! And with climate change increasing temperatures across the globe, more farmers and gardeners will need to learn how to cope with hotter growing seasons.

Warm Climate Gardening Book CoverDon’t you wish there was a book that would tell you how to handle the heat? Funny you should ask! Barbara Pleasant’s book, Warm-Climate Gardening: Tips, Techniques, Plans, Projects for Humid or Dry Conditions is my go-to how-to for the challenges of hot-weather gardening. The book covers vegetables, flowers, fruits, herbs, ornamentals, grasses, and ground cover. From the back cover:

Do you garden where winter is an active growing season? Are your springs violent and short? Are your summers so hot that few plants (and few Gardeners) enjoy them? …you’ll find a solid source of information for your unique gardening needs, not a translation of cold-climate techniques. You’ll learn:

  • How to exploit the cool seasons lurking within the warm climate year
  • How to choose and manage drought-resistant plants
  • Why summer hardiness is as crucial as winter hardiness
  • How to schedule maintenance chores during pleasant weather
  • Labor-saving tips and suggestions that make gardening more fun.

Chapters include:

  • A Walk Through a Warm Climate Garden — What goes on behind the scenes
  • Gardening in Six Seasons — Fundamental Methods and Special Techniques
  • The Gourmet Garden — What, when and how to grow a productive vegetable garden
  • Sun Proof Fruits — Incorporating low-maintenance fruits into the home landscape
  • Fundamental Flowers — Best bloomers and how to grow them
  • Grasses and Ground Covers — Hardworking grasses and growable groundcovers
  • Solving Problems with Pests— Directory of pests and control methods — with many practical tips, and lists of both Challenges and Beneficial Insects
  • Regional Resources — Where to learn more
  • USDA Hardiness Zone Map

Don’t let the heat keep you out of the garden. Read this book and you may just find it’s possible to enjoy becoming proficient in Warm-Climate Gardening!

One Comment on “What to Read Now: Warm Climate Gardening

  1. Thanks John. We have been living for 4 years now in the southern part of Central Valley of CA. Before that we lived in the northern part for 4 years. Growing veggies in hot weather is definitely a skill. A management issue. Make sure you have a productive well! Mulch mulch mulch! Shade cloths are a necessity. Get to love things that love hot weather, crappy soil and drought conditions. It’s not easy! I learned the hard way.

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