Maybe I Don't Live Far Enuf North
One of my little fantasies (anyone else have those?) is to have a home in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern.
Actually, I was thinking - Tasmania. But, there's a problem with that. Garden prep begins about 6 weeks before last frost. I need to grow all these plants that are going out there! So, I fire up the greenhouse in mid-March and move my 2 week old seedlings out there from the south window. Then, it is on to the gardens!
The Autumn frost comes and I'm outta here!! Well, no - not really. I've got another month to complete the harvest and put the garden to bed . . . then, I'm outta here!! Well, with a home in Tasmania, I'd arrive 6 weeks late and have to leave 6 weeks early!
It has never occurred to me that my problem is that I don't now live far enuf north!!! This is totally foreign thinking to me! You see, I've got 8 months to fiddle around with plants and the outdoors here. I need exactly 6 months.
What do hardiness zones tell us? Yes, of course, they tell us about winter cold. Do they tell us anything about the actual Growing Season? Not really. Here is an example from Zone 1:
Recently, I came across an account of a gardener's struggle to get plants started in Zone 1. I just thought, "Oh, for Pete's sake!" I mean, the gardener is in northern Alberta but Fairbanks Alaska is Zone 1. Fairbanks is in the interior of Alaska. I know about those giant vegetables that grow in gardens in Anchorage on the coast but Anchorage is Zone 4. Come on! Zone 1??? We are talking about an average maximum cold of -50of during the winters!
So, I checked Sunset zones for info on Alaska. Here is what they say "The average growing season in Fairbanks is 113 days." What?! My Heavens, they have all those daily hours of summer sun AND 113 days?
I took a Google Streetview drive of Fairbanks just to check it out . . .
So you see, I should go north and then I could move south of Tasmania!