On the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones map, Seward is in zone 6b. However, there are many micro climates within the community. My garden is approximately six miles north of the nearest weather station at the Seward airport where “normals’ are for years 1908-2011. See link here.
Generally, the sun warms the airport/downtown area early in the morning. But in the afternoon, the area cools off much earlier because of the wind off of Resurrection Bay and shade from the mountains to the west. My garden is shaded longer in the morning, but receives sun much later in the evening than the airport/downtown area. It also is spared from the wind. A natural spring meanders through the our property.
A crystal ball would be beneficial when growing a garden here, especially in recent years. Although one can follow charts of average temperatures, rainfall and freezes, there have been extremes recently. It seems like I never know if a snow blower or lawn mower will be the tool of choice in April each year. Not to mention, frequent high water events that saturate the ground are becoming more common. Many plants don’t like their “feet’ wet for prolonged periods. I suspect the 2012 flood contributed to a low blueberry year on my property the two years following the event, but have no actual proof of that.
To compensate for the abnormal years, and to take advantage of opportunities, I have incorporated a variation of gardening techniques to, hopefully, maximize output. We’ve built a greenhouse, covered beds, and raised beds, as well as experimented with self-watering containers that can be moved inside or outside. I grow the tried and true outdoors, such as peas, carrots, cabbage, potatoes and onions. Regulars in the greenhouse are tomatoes and cucumbers. Each year I experiment with a few different varieties in the greenhouse and outdoors. The latest success has been with watermelon in the greenhouse. Delicious!
Normal for us is keeping our yard’s climate fun for all.