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Sat Jun 8, 2019, 08:12 AM

Let's talk about how climate change is impacting how/when we garden - share some observations

This is something I've been pondering digging more deeply into for a long time. Some of us are long time gardeners, and some of us have been gardening in one particular area for a long time - so we are well positioned to think hard and process our observations through the lens of unexpected - possibly very subtle, but real - changes. It isn't so easy to do, because each garden season keeps us busy and I suspect many of us get too busy to be really detailed journalists.

I will start - we've gardened here for nearly 28 years...that's a LOT of gardens.

When we moved in, 1992, there was no way possible to grow plants like Bay, Lantana, many Salvias, certainly Oleander outdoors and have it come back in the spring. We were a solid zone 7. We didn't have Japanese Stilt Grass as a major weed pest. It was actually possible to garden most summer days without feeling like one was being stifled from unrelenting heat and humidity. There would be the odd late day thunderstorm, providing some welcomed watering. I had to keep young seedlings in my garage under lights until late March, because it was still pretty chilly "out there". Tomatoes did get some foliage fungal diseases, but it was not devastating.

Flash forward - 2019. We are zone 8. There is a 6 foot tall (only because we've topped it several times) Bay outside (we supply the neighborhood with Bay Leaf!). Oleander often winters over (not yet completely reliably). Some Lantana that are not Miss Huff (the most winter hardy) make it through the winter just fine. We are over run with weeds - Stilt Grass, Creeping Charley, Poison Ivy seems to be spreading much more aggressively. There are many summer days when it is simply too hot to garden. Tomato fruit set is compromised when temps get at 90 or above and it is humid, so there are gaps on the plants due to blossom drop. We just had a May that felt like solid 90 or above - with very, very little rain. I no longer even need the grow lights, because we get enough mild days that the seedlings go from my office window to outdoors after hardening off. Many gardeners around here give up on tomatoes because of the heavy disease presence. When it rains, it RAINS as in gully busters, multiple inch deluges (we are in a 5 day period where we may get 6 inches or more).

So - do I garden now like I did when we moved in? Nope - I time things differently, grow different things differently, am much more vigilant with removal of lower diseased foliage immediately.

What are you seeing, long time gardeners????

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Reply Let's talk about how climate change is impacting how/when we garden - share some observations (Original post)
NRaleighLiberal Jun 2019 OP
Botany Jun 2019 #1
enough Jun 2019 #2
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2019 #5
mopinko Jun 2019 #3
The Velveteen Ocelot Jun 2019 #4
spinbaby Jun 2019 #6
NRaleighLiberal Jun 2019 #7

Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 08:21 AM

1. Nimblewill is much more common in lawns now in Ohio

Nimblewill being a warm season grass has a competitive advantage over the
cool season grasses i.e. bluegrass, fescues, and rye grasses and so from the
fall to mid spring lawns have big patches of "dead looking turf" that does not
green up until late April. That crap can take over an entire lawn in a few
seasons and the only way to really control it is to mark it then kill it after it
starts growing and then reseed the areas.






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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 08:41 AM

2. I've been gardening in the same place since 1976. The changes would fill a book.

Since Iíve just put on my shirt to go out and weed the tomatoes, Iíll only mention the single biggest change: the nature of the soil. In the past 15 or 20 years the earthworms have proliferated so greatly that the structure of the soil has changed.

Iím not just talking about the places where weíve added compost yearly, Iím talking about nearly every area of the whole 30 acres. The soil is still very fertile and things grow well, but itís not exactly friable. Itís more what I would call granulated. Itís unsettling.

Iíll be very interested to hear other gardenersí observations. This is a great question NRaleighLiberal, thanks.

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Response to enough (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 11:27 AM

5. You might want to check whether you have jumping worms, an invasive species

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 09:10 AM

3. if i dont get a real greenhouse here, i am never gonna make money.

i started this little farm 7 years ago. the first year, spring arrived a full year early. i sync up the season and the calendar by when my tulips bloom. they used to always bloom right around mother's day. within a week either way. i always noted this, because they dont do that well in my garden, so i cherish them. but they are too attractive a target for well meaning kids when they are in full bloom on mother's day. some years i spent the day on the front porch just to keep an eye on them.

since that first year, tho, spring has been later and colder and wetter every.damn.year.
i had not been worrying thaaaaat much about climate change as it related to me, as we are not really going to bear the brunt of most of it. rainfall is not that big a worry as i have unmetered city water. and if i use too much, it travels through the sandy soil the back into the lake from whence it came.
high temps are thought to be the worst threat, and that is one reason i love the heirlooms that you started me out w, my friend. i figure i will have land races going of my favorite crops.
plus i am in the bowl of lake michigan, in a micro climate that is well buffered.

but these springs. oh.my.god.
after that first year, it has been worse each year. it has taken such a toll on my seedlings, despite ramping up my weather weather mitigation every year.
not just the cold, but the clouds. all day, day after day.
things are fine under the light, i move them out to a hoop house or my new, little lean to greenhouse, and BAMMMMM!

i had such a great spring, then i lost almost half of what i moved out into the weather.

i have a cardboard model of my dream farm building.
a mini barn.
it aint gonna happen now, methinks, tho there might be a hail mary out there.

but i have to have something, and soon.
i at least need to invest $2-30k in a good year round prefab.
another $5k for renewables to run it.
if i dont do it, this is never anything more than an expensive hobby.






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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 11:03 AM

4. Zone 4 here, but Zone 5 is creeping up on us.

This past winter was a for-real Zone 4 winter but those are becoming more and more infrequent. I still won't plant Zone 5 plants in my garden but some people are having success with them in protected areas. This spring was unusually cool and wet, unlike some recent springs which came early, followed by a hard frost, which devasted the apple orchards. One problem seems to be that the weather has become unpredictable year-to-year. Maybe it will be very hot again this summer, like last summer, or maybe it will rain all the time, which is what's happening so far. I have a lot of native plants, which seem able to withstand more extreme conditions, so I'll be watching those to see how well they cope.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 12:11 PM

6. Western PA here

Zone 6 more or less. I grew up in this area and my father was an avid gardener. He always said that the first week in the spring you could count on being frost free was the last week in May. This year our last frost was in early April.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 03:21 PM

7. giving this a late afternoon kick

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