I sowed squash indoors weeks ago. They bloomed the other day. The Books say it’s ok to plant squash now. The Books are often wrong.
The Books reference zones based on frost dates. Based on frost dates, I should be able to grow anything grown along the valley of the West Coast of the United States. This is not actual truth.
What The Books fail to account for in their Zone System is temperature, and daylight, and precipitation. I can grow many things all winter that would not survive in other areas of the same zone. Why?
Well, for starters, it’s still hitting 100 degrees fahrenheit regularly here in my version of Zone 8a/b. In other areas of Zone 8a/b there are highs in the 70s. They are also dropping into the 49ers at night. Me? Maybe as low as 75 if I’m lucky. My tomatoes are barely alive (mostly due to my frugal watering) while theirs are done (due to their chilly nights.)
Next we have the concept of chill hours. Peaches grow beautifully and plentifully 90 minutes west of here, having just enough chill to fruit. Citrus grow outdoors three hours southeast of here, with the lightest of frosts being the rarest of things. Neither would be happy here.
As for daylight, the fluctuation is just as wide. Summer in Seattle as a child taught me how greatly the curve of the globe changes the daylight in rotation to the sun. The sun sets in June at nearly 11pm. We top out at just after 9pm. Winters in Olympia were miserable for me with the sun setting at 4:30pm. We don’t really set before 6pm.
Never mind the other oh-so-important water. Days with rain here? Maybe a third of the number of days up there. There are irrigation options, but that costs money and doesn’t change the surrounding soil so much.
And not that the Zones claim to say anything about soil, but clay is not clay is not clay. I’ll save that for another day.
So today, I put eight seedlings of squash out. I’m nervous. I held eight back. The Books also say I can sow beets and put out my cauliflower and broccoli starts. I won’t be listening to them on those counts just yet.
And just for fun, some pretty clouds.