One downside of living in garden zone 4a in Calgary is that we don’t get a ton of length to our growing season. This can really limit what we’re able to grow outside and many regular varieties even need to be “shorter season” choices to ensure we get maximum yield. This is also all dependent on great weather. This year we started off the year super slow and a lot of things never really caught up. It can be a struggle, that’s for sure.
Despite this, I have a huge desire to grow a lot of things that aren’t really appropriate for our zone! This has meant that I’ve had to find a work around and it’s actually super obvious and simple…
We just have to grow things in pots and bring them inside for the winter!
With some planning and care, you can definitely still grow a lot of things that would otherwise die in a cooler zone and it will likely take a little longer (or a lot longer in some cases), but I definitely think it’s worth it!
I cannot tell you how much more delicious it is to grow some of these things (well I think it’s all garden foods in general) than buying them at the store! Our bay leaves are INCREDIBLE and I’m so excited to have our own plant growing to use all year long!
Warm Weather Food Perennials that I’m growing currently include:
- Bay Leaf
- Mango (although we had an unfortunate accident in the summer and I’m going to have to start another mango over again)
Calgary gets summers that are quite warm and a lot of the warm weather food perennials enjoy their time outside or in a greenhouse if you’ve got it! We had everyone live outside during the warm summer weather and they definitely thrived.
Once cooler weather started to come, we brought them inside and made sure to wipe the pots all over with either a hydrogen peroxide mix or castile soap to clean them up and remove any bug eggs. You can also spray the top of the soil if you’re worried about pests.
Tips For Success:
Make sure you plant in good quality soil and either fertilize weekly/biweekly or add compost/worm castings 1-2x/year.
Make sure they get enough light.
Make sure to protect them from pets (and the pets from them if they’re poisonous).
Know that their growth will slow down in the winter because of cooler temperatures and less light.
Understand that some may take a long time to produce what you’ve hoping to harvest. I definitely understand that my mango and avocado trees are going to take a LONG time, but I love houseplants too so why not grow them!