Now I don't know about you but here we re having a major drought. Summer came early and it came hard. I have raspberries ripening about two weeks ahead of schedule and lacking about two week's worth of flavour. Bummer. Everything's kind of like that this year too.
So, here I am thinking about the fall and wanting to be sure I have an awesome garden that sustains us and I have no idea of how to go about that. Is it a warm El Niño year, or a cold one? I have no idea. Both seem to be written about. And if the season is two weeks (or more) ahead, will we have a longer growing season or an earlier winter? Yikes! So many decisions and as you all know, two weeks can mean the difference between life and death for a young plant.
So, to that end, I've decided on a couple of courses of action.
First of all, I'd always thought we were Zone 4 and truthfully, I'm sure we are some years. But largely we're just not. More like Zone 6 according to most of the hardiness charts. So, I'm going to garden as though we're Zone 5. I'm not just splitting the difference. I think if I go with the expectations that it will be a slightly harder, slightly earlier start to winter, likely the plants will survive. After all, it's better to have them a little mature at the start of winter, rather than too young.
So, better to have it be all a bit more mature and harvest it sooner than have this happen too early:
Though I confess, by the time it comes I will so be happy to see it!
So, my plan is to use one of the garden planners to figure out what I need to be planting and when. Now, if you're super fancy, you could use this frost date finder along with this handy chart of temps that keep plants happy. While I am super fancy (of course) I'm also going to cheat and use something like this:
Here's another one specifically for zone 5.
Either way, it's definitely not too early to start thinking about which delicious things you'd like to eat over the winter fresh, from your own garden or greenhouse. And also think about ways to make that happen.
Not sure what I mean about that? Well, that will be a great topic for the next post, won't it?