As you may already be aware, USDA gardening zones are one of the factors to consider when choosing plants for your garden. Those living in colder climate zones, say zones 3, 4 or even 5 may sometimes feel a little disappointed not to be able to grow the range of plants available for warmer climate gardeners.
Of course, climate zone is only one of the factors which determines what you will be able to grow. A wide range of microclimate factors and other environmental details will come into play. And of course, even when two properties are in the same planting zone, the solutions that work best can be very different.
But there are interesting solutions that can enable colder planting zone gardeners to grow crops that they would not usually be able to grow in their areas.
- Create and make use of shelter – planting against a south facing wall, or even landscaping to create a sheltered dip in a landscape can avoid problems with cold winds.
- Plant wind break hedgerows and shelter belts. Use other plants to create more favourable micro-climate conditions.
- Make use of water – either standing water in a pond or reservoir, or stored water to retain heat.
- Make an undercover growing area. Earth-sheltered, passively heated greenhouses can allow you to grow a much wider range of crops – even often when unheated over the winter months.
- Take advantage of the heat that composting materials can give off.
Another thing to remember is that you should look out cultivars of particular trees or other crops which are bred to suit climate conditions in your area.
If you would like help to create a permaculture plan for your colder climate garden, homestead or farm, please do get in touch.