Heirloom Varieties for Hot or Cold Climates


Gardeners can control the type of soil, seeds, watering schedule, and spacing within their gardens, but climate can be more difficult to regulate. Short of a greenhouse or indoor environment, home gardens are subjected to the seasons’ whims. Temperature is an influential gardening variable capable of nurturing or killing gardens depending on the plant selection. Plant varietals, like people, have preferences regarding their environment. Some enjoy cooler climates while others thrive in warmer temperatures.

Gardeners can find plants suitable to their region based on the season and the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The map identifies the lowest temperatures felt throughout the U.S. to narrow down what can and can’t be grown. After a gardener establishes their hardiness zone, they will have a clearer understanding of what temperature range the seasons are capable. Matching plants to their climate is not just advice, it’s necessary for the garden to thrive.

Organic and Heirloom

These terms are frequently used in marketing, produce descriptions, and seed sales, but the difference may not always be clear. Organic plants are grown under regulations prohibiting the use of sewage, genetically-fabricated materials, and synthetic fertilizers (among other standards depending upon the certifying body). Basically, organic plants are the product of organic materials and processes. Heirlooms are not defined by their growth, but by their heritage. They are open-pollinated seeds that reproduce bounty identical to the parent plant. In short, heirlooms come from one variety instead of a cross between two varieties. Which is “better” is a matter of opinion as they differ in taste, germination, season, bounty, and resiliency. In this article, heirloom varietals that perform better in different climates will be the major focus. Heirlooms are typically known for their taste, bright color, rich nutritional value, unique appearance, and the fact that they rely on small growers and gardeners for continued lineage. 

Different Potential for Different Climates

Every gardener is searching for the plants that work best for their region. Northern climates have shorter growing seasons, but also have very minimal risk of scorching their plants. Southern climates offer a longer growing season, but the heat can destroy crops and remove life-providing moisture from the environment. Gardeners who understand the risks can navigate them more easily and grow a more bountiful garden.

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