Every Climate Is Unique
Planting outside is hard when you don’t have experience with it, even for green thumbs. Knowing what grows best where is hard, and without any knowledge it can be intimidating. Many of us are scared away after trying to put a plant outside for the summer only for it to wilt away and die in the new environment. Luckily, if you arm yourself with the right knowledge and start to learn about outdoor growing, it can certainly change your luck! The hardest part about that, however, is learning about what grows best where you live, as it is so different from state to state, even city to city!
There are so many factors that make different climates amazingly unique. Someone growing in parts of Texas may need to look for plants that can handle clay-based soils, while up in the northern states the main concern may be protecting plants from the harsh frosts. From soil composition and humidity to our frost dates, these are the things that make the ecosystems we live in so unique and special! One amazing place to learn more about planting is by better understanding your USDA Hardiness Zone. This map helps by categorizing areas by their lowest annual minimum temperature in 10° increments, and then even further into 5° increments by looking at those Zones’ subzones! The lower your number, the cooler it gets, changing the types of plants that can survive in your area.
Get To Know Your Plant Zone
Starting to learn about your climate can help you grow plants successfully even beyond just the minimum winter temperatures. Look into the soil composition of your yard, the common first and last frost dates for your city, and the humidity levels throughout your seasons. Some areas struggle more with plant-harming bugs than others, something to look out for especially with certain plant varieties. Arming yourself with this knowledge can give you a great advantage to growing! Local nurseries are an amazing resource for this, and can help you learn so much about your local region and growing there.
Get The Knowledge & Tools Needed For Planting
Another way you can help ensure that your plants will succeed through some of the more harsh seasons is by learning about and utilizing tools that help protect against your local climate. Some yards just aren’t able to grow shade-loving plants or those that need a bit more moisture, which is where these handy items can help. By even just slightly extending the amount of plants you can grow in your space, you open yourself up to longer growing seasons, a bigger selection of veggies you can grow, and more options for landscaping!
Mulch is a great option for both warm and cold environments, preventing excessive water evaporation and helping to control the soil temperature, whether that is trapping heat in or protecting the soil from the very hot sun. You can buy mulch in the form of wood chips or other options such as mulched leaves.
In extreme sun and heat, shade cloths can be a great solution, but just remember that by shading your plants they are getting less of that vital sun that they need to live! These options are best for plants that are more happy with more shade, and can be a great way to create a more shade-loving garden in a yard with no coverage.
Raised beds not only help your back as you garden, but can help regulate the soil temperature and water levels. Making raised beds also allows you more control over the soil composition and fertilizer you use, letting you pick what will be best for exactly what you plant!
Drip irrigation in warm climates puts water right at the root zone without wasting any water - great for areas that often experience drought and have to be more water-conscious. These slow-flow options can be put right in your raised beds or throughout your garden plots.
Cloches are a covering, usually plastic, to protect your plant from the cold. These can come in handy during an unexpected frost or in areas where morning chills are more common. In many cases you can also use row covers, larger versions of individual cloches which are often able to only protect one or two plants.
Get To Know Your Native Plant Population
As you start to learn about these awesome tools at your disposal and you feel more confident about your knowledge, you can start to look into the exciting world that is your native plant population! When you consider using local, regional plants, you gain the advantage of planting varieties that have evolved to your specific climate. From drought resistance to soil tolerance, these plants will do great if they are put in a similar habitat to where they are found naturally. To learn more about what grows in your region, talking to your local nursery is a great choice. These experts can tell you not only what native plants are great for landscaping, but can point you towards any varieties that may be endangered or vital to your local ecosystem.
Another huge advantage to planting native plants is how much they can help your local pollinators and wildlife. So often our critical species of pollinators struggle to survive, and by planting flowers and plants that provide them with nectar, food, and shelter, you are helping your entire ecosystem. Bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other vital creatures rely on these plants in order to survive. You can be part of rebuilding their habitats and restoring your environment in your own back yard with just a little research! Again, your local nursery will be a great resource to learn a ton about how you can help all of these crucial creatures.
To help you get started on your journey, we wanted to gather some information to help you get started. If your city isn’t listed here, try looking at your local growing communities, nurseries, and environmental groups for resources.