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Climate change and species selection  RSS feed

 
Betsy Carraway
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Hi, I am in Mississippi, zone 8...we have pretty hot droughty summer weather, high humidity in general, and winters that range from, well, it's going to be 16 degrees tonight; but it has been in the 80's and will be high of 70 this Sat. My problem is finding perennial edibles that will make it. We have replaced our figs twice now, and probably this cold will mean number three; but althea/mallows are fine no matter what. My kale and chard are perennial IF the deer don't eat them down to a nub; but I have lost 3 out of 4 paw paws, a bay laurel tree, a tea bush, and all of my supposedly perennial leeks to last summer's drought I guess; and my (four or more years old!!!) apples, pears, plums, and cornelian cherries are not thriving nor producing. Okra, beans, asparagus, poke, and peas of every kind, no problem. Basil 3 feet high. I also have blueberries and blackberries. Romemary and oregano like nobody's business. Given that scenario, anybody have an idea for something that will do really well here? (ie, maybe you're in Zone 8 in CA in similar climate) Thanks!
 
brandon gross
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Maybe a local verity of grapes I am in south Georgia and muscadines and scuplens grow themselves. I saw an umbrella done with wisteria at the winter green conference last week. but I want to repeated with grapes as a central piece of a bed. Ill have to find a pic.
 
John Elliott
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My figs do just fine with the cold. Maybe there is a problem with the soil. Do they drain well, or are they in a wet spot. Figs do better in arid climates than in swampy ones, so if they are in a place that doesn't drain well, maybe that is why you are losing them.

That would also be my general comment for your other problems. Is your soil like mine? Thin topsoil over solid clay? If you have magnolia trees that are thriving, this is one indication, because they LOVE heavy clay. I have had similar problems getting my fruit trees to thrive and I keep coming back to fighting the solid clay that underlies my lot (and half of the state of Georgia for that matter). A couple of suggestions: (1) lots of wood chip mulch. This is good for providing nutrients to the shallow roots, but it doesn't break up the clay. To do that, you need to (2) put a pressure nozzle on the garden hose and drill down into the clay a couple feet or so. Space the holes about 3 feet apart around the drip line of the tree. Then pack the holes with wood chips and biochar. I think you will notice a marked improvement in the spring if you get out and do this now.
 
Michael Judd
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Location: Frederick, Maryland
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Betsy

It sounds more like a staging challenge than a zone issue. Can you tell us what sort of prep you did for your plantings? How thick is your mulch? Are you planting in the spring and fall? Who are you ordering nursery stock from? Do you have any wind breaks?
 
Betsy Carraway
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Wow, thanks for all the great comments! Yes, muscadines and scuppernongs do great here...I have to get out there and reclaim the really ancient ones that are so overgrown. It will be a job; but yes I need to do that next, as nothing shakes them and a good pruning right now will make a big difference. Gonna take a while though; anybody want to come and pitch in

The clay soil is no doubt the problem in the orchard. I have been dumping compost and manure all over the place and planting directly in it; but below the ground, you will find brick-making material, thick and heavy. I will do the hose thing and add lighter materials, thanks!!!

BTW, we eat wisteria salads when it is in bloom. You may want to try it before cutting it all down...The flowers are gorgeous, delicious, and make a wonderful salad all by themselves with a vinaigrette; add some sugarsnaps and a handful of wood sorrel, and ohh, la la! (NO other part of the plant is edible, or even non-toxic, so beware and educate your littles)
 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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The microclimate matters a lot/ I have for example two persimmons, one seems to be dying and the other is thriving. The thriving one is under trees (we're in Australia and it is hot right now). But trees can help as well small plants and trees through the winter, you could plant first short lived acacias. You can use stones too or you protect your plants in winter with hessian, but that's work.
 
Betsy Carraway
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Thanks, Angelika; it is amazing to hear from folks in so many different places! I am not so sure about acacias; but I AM sure we have no stones here, unless we import them!!! Yes, microclimate is totally important...I have some various citrus trees underneath some Live Oaks and they may just have survived the winter!!! (satsuma, calamondin, and kumquat). Put them there because they "like" to be close to Live Oaks and I was hoping that would keep them healthy; also I have killed rosemary in full sun here, but it also loves being partially shaded by live oak and is enormous...Bay laurel as well, I have killed several starts, but have some in a 3-gallon pot unprotected in full sun, and it it still alive, after many days below 20 degrees F this winter; it is a learning process, for sure!
 
brandon gross
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Betsy Carraway wrote:BTW, we eat wisteria salads when it is in bloom. You may want to try it before cutting it all down...The flowers are gorgeous, delicious, and make a wonderful salad all by themselves with a vinaigrette; add some sugarsnaps and a handful of wood sorrel, and ohh, la la! (NO other part of the plant is edible, or even non-toxic, so beware and educate your littles)

the thanks i had no idea that the flowers are edable our land lord has a bunch groing over an arbor I belive ill have to give that a try.
 
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