A long growing season seems like the perfect reason to choose a bug out location in certain regions. It starts warming early in Texas, and gets cold later, so this is perfect isn’t it? Let’s buy Texas land!
Not necessarily. Did you know that the Texas heat can destroy crops in the summer?
Just because a location has a long warm period, doesn’t mean that food is grown better there. It could mean a shorter spring and fall which can be prime time for crops.
What zone is the property in? In different climate zones, the year-round temperatures are different. Make sure to know what zone the property is, and pay attention to which plants you can grow there.
If you want a nationwide hardiness map, the USDA hardiness map is probably the best place to go.
You are in hardiness zone 7, but want to grow a plant that is said to go down to hardiness zone 8. All you have to do is create a micro-climate that is a little warmer than the rest of your property. You may want to try reducing wind, providing evening sun, while heating an eastern thermal mass.
If you want something that is only up to hardiness zone 6, then you need to create a cooler micro-climate. You could consider some edge tree coverage and blocking the sun in the late afternoon and evening.
If you told me that you are in zone 7 and wanted to grow something that is best in hardiness zones 3 or 9, I would probably laugh at you. Can you do it? Yes. Should you do it? Not unless you are trying to prove it can be done. You probably have better use of your time than providing that much TLC to the plant.
Your property will have what is called “micro-climates” on it. Based on sun patterns, wind patterns, and overall climate, you will have different micro-climates in different areas.
If you determine that a spot is warmer than average, you may be able to plant “warmer zone” plants, and the same will be said for colder micro-climates.
Heat storing masses, solar patterns, wind patterns, and even more can determine your micro-climates.
Look at google maps and determine what the sun will look like on the property. Pay attention to what time of the year the image was taken.
If you would like to track the sun, and you are familiar with CAD and grid-based software, then http://www.findmyshadow.com is a place that you can draw your property, choose a date, and see where the shadows will be throughout the day.
Even better for the lay person is to look at the SunCalc Map. This is an amazing little tool that will allow you to choose your location, the date, and the time of the day to determine where the sun will be.
I can see sunrise through sunset, and anytime between. It also tells you when dawn, noon, and dusk are. If you are trying to pick the best places to plant, this could be your tool!
Yes, I want to choose the perfect Bug Out Location (BOL) for every crop I could ever want to grow. But, I won’t have the PERFECT property with the PERFECT climate and PERFECT micro-climates.
The savior here is the Greenhouse!
There are many different models of greenhouses and many different building techniques based on your location. If you choose the correct greenhouse, you can extend the growing season by months!
You can make them cold hearty and make them cool in the summer heat.
Even though you can extend your seasons with a greenhouse, don’t forget to research the typical planting dates for the area, so you know how to maximize your seasonal planting.
Pay close attention to what you like to eat, and where that stuff is grown. You may not be able to eat that stuff when you are in a disaster and growing your own food.
Understand your climate. Also know about your micro-climates and how you can create some. Lastly, remember that you can always grow in a controlled environment.
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