The first thing I had to learn about gardening is that not everything grows where it’s planted. Depending on your climate, only certain plants will prosper in your garden.
Not long ago I picked up a book at the library called Small Space Vegetable Gardens by Angela Bellamy, a gardener from Vancouver. It was in her book I first discovered the term ‘Hardiness Zone’, a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone.
After doing a bit of research, here is a map of the hardiness zones for British Columbia. On Vancouver Island, where I live, we are in Hardiness Zone 9. Zone 9 has a long growing season with hot summers. Most vegetable varieties will have no problem maturing before your first frost date. With a last frost date of March 1st and first frost date of December 15th. These dates will vary a week or two so it’s important to watch the weather before planting. Annual minimum temperature for zone 9 is -1ºC.
With global warming, hardiness zones are shifting. This year our Spring was incredibly late to start. I wasn’t able to plant as many things as I would have liked to because our indoor starts died and we were unable to transplant. However, we were able to buy some starts from local urban farms like Mason Street. Below is a planting guide for Hardiness Zone 9.