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Summary

"Have you ever wished you could grow mangoes, coffee, oranges and other delicious tropical plants… but find yourself limited by a less-than-tropical climate? If you long for Key lime pies at Christmas, or homegrown bananas at breakfast, you’re not alone! Expert gardener and mad scientist David The Good fought for years to figure out how grow tropical plants hundreds of miles outside their natural climate range… and he succeeded!

In PUSH THE ZONE: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics, David the Good shares his successes and failures in expanding plant ranges, and equips you with the knowledge you need to add a growing zone or two to your own backyard. Based on original research done in North Florida, PUSH THE ZONE is useful for northern gardeners as well. Discover microclimates in your yard, use the thermal mass of walls to grow impossible plants and uncover growing secrets that will change your entire view of what can grow where!"

Features a foreword by Dr. David Francko, the author of PALMS WON'T GROW HERE AND OTHER MYTHS.

Where to get it?

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca
Amazon.au

Related Podcasts

Paul Wheaton Permaculture Podcast #057 Preparing a food forest

Related Videos




David The Good's Youtube videos

Related Articles

includes a funny review of Push the Zone

Related Threads

Grow or Die
Compost Everything!
fruit trees from seed

Related Websites

author's website, The Survival Gardener
COMMENTS:
 
Posts: 131
Location: SW Tennessee Zone 7a average rainfall 52"
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Umm, excuse me, but ... how on earth did you read my mind?

I was just sitting here wondering if there was a way to create a warmer microclimate in my zone 7a world so that I could successfully grow avocado. I came here to see if any of the helpful and knowledgeable people here had ever done that, and lo and behold, here is your post!

Thank you!
 
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Posts: 622
Location: South Alabama
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Ferne Reid wrote:Umm, excuse me, but ... how on earth did you read my mind?

I was just sitting here wondering if there was a way to create a warmer microclimate in my zone 7a world so that I could successfully grow avocado. I came here to see if any of the helpful and knowledgeable people here had ever done that, and lo and behold, here is your post!

Thank you!



Avocado may be possible in your area if you plant a cold-hardy variety like Lila and grow it flat against a south-facing wall as I recommend in the book. It would be a stretch, but they are growing in zone 8 and living.
 
Posts: 102
Location: Friday Harbor, WA
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If this book can teach me how to grow passionfruit without building a big greenhouse, I'm in!
 
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Just finished reading.  There was one section on greenhouses that was worth the price of the book not to mention all the other useful info! There is ton of info out there for the cold zones but I can find very little on the zones that border the tropics.  I am in zone 8 and this book has lots of real world examples of zone pushing in the warmer zones.  There  are even hints on how to push the zone the other direction. These same techniques apply to the colder zones but with different plants.  It is a great read and worth the money.

 
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I learned this week that this is also an audiobook read by David himself.  
 
Posts: 947
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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David Good wrote:

Ferne Reid wrote:Umm, excuse me, but ... how on earth did you read my mind?

I was just sitting here wondering if there was a way to create a warmer microclimate in my zone 7a world so that I could successfully grow avocado. I came here to see if any of the helpful and knowledgeable people here had ever done that, and lo and behold, here is your post!

Thank you!



Avocado may be possible in your area if you plant a cold-hardy variety like Lila and grow it flat against a south-facing wall as I recommend in the book. It would be a stretch, but they are growing in zone 8 and living.


I presume 'growing flat' (some variation on espalier) against a wall has a significantly greater positive impact than growing a natural spread within the curve of a parabolic wall?
 
r ranson
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I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns.

If you've ever heard the words "you can't grow that here" or wondered what would happen if you tried growing something not suited to your climate zone, this is the book for you.  You don't have to live in Florida to see the relevance of this book.  The techniques David shares in this book applies from Alaska to Ushuaia .  Sure, David focuses on growing tropical plants in subtropical zones, but I've used these same techniques to grow cotton further north than the experts say is possible.  I'm over 900 miles north of Cotton Country, and two degrees latitude North of the northernmost possible place it is possible to grow cotton.  And yet... I can grow cotton - thanks largely to the techniques in this book!

Thanks David the Good!  You rock!

Trying to grow a plant outside of its normal zone can seem like banging your head against a brick wall.  Try as you will, winters are just too cold.  In this book, you will learn how to repurpose your brick wall from headbanging surface to guardian against frost.  Super-charged greenhouses, christmas lights, sprinklers, smudge pots; there are so many ways to protect warm loving plants against the cold.  David The Good describes how to use them and when.

But why?  David gives us 22 reasons why pushing the zone is amazing.  There are mangos of course (something I'm going to try in Canada because, well mangos are amazing).  But also,

Adding new species to your yard makes for a more robust and complex ecosystem. Some of the tropical plants I added brought in more bees, butterflies, and other good guys. Plus, when someone asks you what the heck you think you’re trying to do by planting “that tree” here, you can virtue signal and say you’re “increasing biodiversity.” It sounds very noble, right? And in reality, it does make for a much more interesting garden.



and my favourite reason,


The experts love to tell you what you can’t grow. Various “experts” told me that I couldn’t grow key limes, couldn’t grow papayas, couldn’t grow soap nut trees… and yet, I did. And I enjoyed rubbing it in.



David lost one acorn because I don't know what these foods are and I was jealous because they sound delicious but my grocery store doesn't carry them and they won't grow here.  - Star Fruit, Guava, Dwarf Cavendish banana, Moringa, Jaboticaba, Katuk, Chaya, Miracle Fruit, Monstera, Kava kava, Root Beer plant (careful—it’ll take over!), and Waterleaf (Talinum fruticosum).  Or I should say, they won't grow here YET.  If the neighbours can grow bananas in Canada, maybe I can discover what a jaboticaba or chaya is.

He gained 1 acorn because of the audiobook.  The British accent he did for the one quote, alone was worth a whole acorn.  (do they even grow acorns in the tropics?)  

I would recommend this book for anyone who can recognize that skills are universal and are tired of experts telling them that they can't grow that here.  Anyone willing to break the zone bias.  David writes about what he knows and from first-hand experience.  This repertoire may not include composting polar bears or growing cotton in Canada, but that's fine.  The skills he describes are applicable to anyone willing to push the zone.



Foreword by Dr. David A. Francko
Introduction
Chapter 1 Twenty-two Reasons to Push the Zone
Chapter 2 Should You Buy a Greenhouse?
Chapter 3 Superpower Your Greenhouse
Chapter 4 Heat Islands and Shore Lines
Chapter 5: In Search of Microclimates
Chapter 6: Trees = Frost Protection
Chapter 7: Sprinklers and Smudge Pots, Sheets and Barrels
Chapter 8: Giving Your Trees the Best Chance of Survival
Chapter 9: Your Secret Slice of the Tropics
Chapter 10: Breeding for Cold Tolerance
Chapter 11: Strange and Marvelous Crops to Try
Afterword
Appendix A: The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Appendix B: Growing Coconuts Outside the Tropics?
Endnotes






 
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Posts: 2046
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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I received this recently. And started reading immediately. Here's my review on the book.

PUSH THE ZONE  
The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics
by David The Good

The first part of this book is useful in any climate. The author gives reasons why you should experient with plants that normally grow in warmer climates. He explains why a greenhouse is not always necessary, gives advices on other methods for making hot spots in the garden.
I missed advice for when it is not freezing cold, but it's cloudy and rainy during many consecutive days.
The second part gives a list of tropical plants. Most of these species can be grown in less hot climates, like in North Florida. But in temperate and cold zones there is no way to grow these plants, only sometimes maybe in a heated greenhouse with growlights.

So this book is most useful for gardeners in North Florida. Less so in the Netherlands.

In my next post I will show my warmth-loving plants in their new -almost South facing- corner.
 
gardener
Posts: 1110
Location: Soutwest Ohio
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I give this book 8 out of 10 acorns.


Go into this book realizing that the author's direct experience is limited to Tennessee and Florida. That isn't said as a detriment, but more so you understand that this book isn't really about specific crops. Instead it is meant to help you understand how to apply techniques for pushing the zone of plants you desire, regardless of where you are living. It's written in a simple manner, easy to read, and is endorsed by David A. Francko (who wrote the forward to this book and is the author of the wonderful book "Palms Won't Grow Here and other myths").

The book suffers from a fatal flaw that often comes with simplicity however. When you condense down information and avoid much clinical data, then you have something so compact that it feels like a scattershot of advice. This is proven out by the second half of the book. To bulk out the information, specific lists of plants are noted. Where the first part of the book focus' on how to improve a greenhouse or avoid one entirely, the second half is nearly all tropical and subtropical plant advice. Where the first part of the book was universal, the second half becomes nearly useless for anyone too far north. I feel like the idea was great and the information amazingly clear, but that to bulk out the page count, more got added that fell outside of the original goal. That could just be my take, but it keeps me from rating it higher than I do. As long as you aren't paying a lot for your copy, it's well worth having in your collection. If you want more that's specific to a more northern area, the aforementioned book by Francko might be a good one to augment this.
 
pioneer
Posts: 91
Location: North Texas, Zone 8a, Black Clay
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I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.

As others have said, I think a lot of the specific plants are focused on growing in Florida or very similar areas. Many of the ideas are very basic ways of manipulating the growing conditions just enough to gain an advantage. It is all information that can be applied in different zones and with different plants.
I think overall this book is a great starting point for working with microclimates and "pushing the zone".  One, of only a few, books on microclimates I have found.
 
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