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.
Don’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:
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!