what is my correct climate zone

rebecca_hawaii(9a, HI)August 14, 2005

I am new to gardening. My husband and I are moving from Hilo town to a larger parcel up in Kaumana City. Using my zip code, I was told that I am in zone 9. The zip code is the same in Hilo town as in Kaumana City which yields a climate zone of 9. However, I find that to me (of course I am not a plant!), the climate is much different in Kaumana City. It is MUCH cooler and seems to get a little more rain & less sunshine. Am I really in climate zone 9? Is this what the 9a and 9b are for? What will I be able to grow up there? I would like to be able to grow fruits and veggies like: avocados, cabbage, okra, spinach, sweet potatos, tomatos, carrots, and oranges. I would also like to have some nice colorful flowers and bushes for my front yard area. Will I be able to do this in a cooler climate like Kaumana City? Is there anyone near Kuamana City or upper Kaumana who can give me some advise?

Thanks,

Rebecca

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ilima

Your elevation above sea level is what will determine what will grow best for you here. Do you know what that is?

A lot of the veggies do better in the cooler wetter higher elevations and it is not too cool for avocado and citrus.

Above 2000' elevation some palm species will no longer be happy and other tropical flowers and shrubs won't like the cool nights either.

Look to see what others in the area are growing. Higher elevations open up a whole new range of wonderful perennial flowers you can grow.
ilima

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 2:45PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Aloha Rebecca,

Kaumana should be fine for most of the things you listed. I'm not sure about the root vegetables such as sweet potatoes & carrots unless you put in the depth of dirt they require. Perhaps you could build some raised beds for them. Many areas of Kaumana are just shallow pockets of soil over pahoehoe lava.

The small fruited tomatoes are more likely to do well for you since the larger fruited tomatoes can be stung by fruit flies. Also, for home gardening, the "indeterminate" types of tomato plants will continue to grow and produce tomatoes for several years whereas the "determinate" types of tomatoe plants will die off within one year.

Lima beans may do well and they will grow for several years. Green beans are also likely to grow well, although they will die off within a year.

Collard greens might do well. They are kind of a cross between spinach and cabbage and once established will stay growing for years. Just harvest the leaves as you want to eat them and let the stalk grow.

Ask the folks at Garden Exchange and Paradise Plants if the particular plant you are interested in will grow at your elevation. See what your neighbors are growing, that is also a good indication of what will grow there.

There are about a half dozen different varieties of apples, peaches and pears you could grow in Kaumana. Check for the varieties with the "low chill" requirements. Coffee might do well, perhaps lavender too. You may even have enough elevation for proteas.

A hui hou,
Cathy

    Bookmark   December 5, 2005 at 12:54AM
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