Spring is here and it’s time to get the 2022 Container Garden planted! Philip and I usually like to plant our garden in February to try and avoid the bugs but this year we just didn’t have time! We do risk dealing with frost, but it’s usually a gamble we take and for three years in a row we WON. This year it is likely we would have lost, big time! We did lose almost all the fall tomatoes crop due to the coldest freezing temps that Florida has seen in about 4 years. Oh, how crushing, because they were just beginning to fruit!
Philip and are in transition. We sold our home and have moved into our RV. We’re living small now to enable us to pay off our homestead more quickly. Once we meet our financial goals, we will move to the homestead completely debt-free! Because of that, this is our second year planting a container garden in our temporary living situation. I started my second round of seeds several weeks ago. Read about it here.
Here at the Florida house, we are in garden zone 9A. Our last frost date is about March 6th. We have an estimated growing season of 269 days! The homestead in Kentucky is in garden zone 6B with a final frost date of approximately April 24th. We have a growing season of approximately 174 days in Kentucky.
I had intended to plant the Florida garden on March 12th, it was after the frost date and honestly the first free weekend I had! However, we got another frost warning and the temperatures plummeted for just a few hours into the freezing zone on March 12th. We wrapped up our last remaining plants that had survived, tucked my seedling inside, and hoped for the best!
Determining Your Garden Zone
A garden zone is also known as a hardiness zone refers to the climate conditions in a growing area. There are a few websites I like to look at to check my garden zone. The Plant Hardiness Zone Map is used to determine our garden zone. I also like the Farmer’s Almanac website to refine that search as well. A garden zone is based on the low temperatures a region can expect. It does not take into consideration the high temperatures of the area. Growing seasons are based on the time frame between the estimated first frost and the estimated last frost. These zones help a gardener choose plants and plant them in a time frame that will ensure the most success.
In the United States, there are 13 hardiness zones. Some zones are also further divided into A and B when the temperature in the zone varies by more than 5 degrees.
While most people use their garden zones to determine their last frost date, here in our garden zone 9A we have to take into consideration the heat factor as well. Some heat intolerant plants will not flourish in our summer months. Because of this, it changes the timetable that we plant them. The American Horticultural Society has put together a Plant Heat Zone Map. It works similarly to the Plant hardiness Zone map, but shows the heat days of the region where the temperature exceeds 86 degrees.
Why Does my Garden Zone Matter?
While a gardener can really plant anything they like, their growing season may limit the success of the plants they choose. Choosing plants that need more growing time than you can provide can be extremely discouraging. One of the gardeners I follow, Kate from Venison for Dinner, grows crops that flourish in her gardening zone 3. She concentrates on the plants she can grow well and doesn’t spend time trying to grow things that won’t flourish in her area. She grows an impressive crop of potatoes that provides enough food for her family and the seed potatoes they need for the following year each season.
The Luffa plant that I am experimenting with this year, needs 200 days of the growing season to reach maturity. If I am to plant these in Kentucky, I will need to take action to start my seeds appropriately inside to give them the extra growing time they need in a protected environment. In the future, we plan to build a greenhouse at the homestead that will be built into the hill to provide geothermal temperature control that will help us extend our growing season. We also have heating units that we can use if needed.
Lots of gardeners like to test the boundaries of growing zones and plant all sorts of plants that don’t normally flourish in their area. There is a cool place called the Greenhouse in the Snow, whose geothermal greenhouse is an impressive operation. He’s growing citrus trees in Nebraska!
Join Me in the Garden
Join me as I plant the spring 2022 container garden!
BONUS Video: Assembling the GreenStalks. Both the Leaf and the Original.
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What Are We Growing?
We planted quite a bit in our little garden space. Here it is, in no particular order.
Baker Creek Mignon Single Mix Dahlias
Baker Creek Tip Top Alaska Salmon Nasturtiums
Baker Creek Queen Lime Red Zinnias
Annie’s Romaine Lettuce Blend
Ferry-Morse Garden Sweet Cucumbers
Baker Creek Delicata Squash
Baker Creek Bullnose Green Pepper
Baker Creek Jing Orange Okra
Baker Creek Bloody Mary Nasuriums
Baker Creek Paste Tomatoes
Livingston Early Frost Peas
Baker Creek Queen Lime Red Zinnias
Baker Creek Rock Top Lettuce Blend
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.