Global warming is expected to have several significant effects on vegetable gardening in the UK. It’s unprecedented, we simply don’t know what to expect. So how should Gardeners Adapt To Global Warming?
The first thought most people have about global warming is that it will get warmer. But will it. If the Gulf Stream closes down, then it will get colder here. Remember London is further north than both Calgary and Winnipeg, renown for their winter weather.
So extrapolating the weather trends is not going to be easy. And without the ocean warmth we could become much colder in winter.
Let’s look at other potential changes. The following are based on info I’m assured is true. Personally I don’t believe any of it and have added my further thoughts in italics. It makes dire reading. But at the end I make suggestions that should help us. It should however be noted these are my initial thoughts. As I refine my ideas I will be posting more information and advice here. And where possible I will be posting links to verifiable research and relevant advice from academics and professionals.
The desert image is here is to grab attention and not as a forecast of the future in the UK.
Extended Growing Seasons
Warmer temperatures may extend the growing seasons for many vegetables. This can allow gardeners to grow more crops and potentially experiment with varieties that were previously unsuitable for the UK’s climate.
Alternatively, we could have much colder winters with late springs.
New Crop Possibilities
As temperatures rise, some vegetables that were once considered exotic or too heat-sensitive for the UK may become viable options. Gardeners may have the opportunity to grow crops like sweet potatoes or more heat-loving tomato varieties.
Alternatively, late springs and earlier winters may mean we should focus on cropping that suits more northern climes.
Increased Pest & Disease Pressure
Warmer conditions can lead to an increase in certain pests and diseases. Gardeners may need to adopt new pest management strategies or choose pest-resistant varieties.
Alternatively, wetter weather may mean more fungal type diseases such as blights and rusts. But climate changes also provide opportunities to encourage beneficial insects.
While the UK has not been typically known for water shortages, changing weather patterns can result in periods of drought. Gardeners may need to implement more efficient watering practices, such as drip irrigation, and choose drought-resistant vegetable varieties.
Agreed. In recent years, we’ve seen reservoir levels drop lower in many regions. Last summer in the South West was the lowest levels I’ve seen for decades. We have more population pressure, more tourism and the same size reservoirs. We are also likely to see more winter rain and summer droughts .. or might hat be the wrong way around. Summer 2023 has been unusual, water levels across all reservoirs in th edition stand at 64.9% as I write this in September. Last year at the same time it was around 35%. My water storage was near empty this time last year. Today they are full .. in later summer!!
We simply don’t know what will happen and have to be prepared for anything. .
Altered Planting Dates
Gardeners may need to adjust their planting schedules due to shifting temperature patterns. Understanding the changing climate and its impact on specific crops will be essential for successful gardening.
I agree 100% with this.
Heatwaves can stress plants, causing reduced yields and quality. Gardeners may need to provide shade or implement cooling techniques for their crops during extreme heat events.
Alternatively, it could be colder at times and we’ll need to cope with that.
Gardeners may need to reevaluate their choice of vegetable varieties based on their adaptability to the changing climate. Heat-tolerant and drought-resistant varieties may become more valuable.
I 100% agree
Warmer temperatures can affect soil health and structure. Gardeners may need to focus on soil conservation practices and adapt their soil management techniques to maintain optimal growing conditions.
With or without global warming I believe this to be the case.
Crop Diversity (That Could Help Gardeners Adapt To Global Warming)
Diversifying the types of vegetables grown can help mitigate the risks associated with changing climate conditions. Planting a variety of crops can spread the risk of crop failure due to weather extremes or pests.
This I believe is key to the future climate change. It is partly why I’m planting a food forest and exploring new crops. I’m also looking at eating more “weeds”. Some are very tasty and “grow like weeds”
Education and Adaptation Will Help Gardeners Adapt To Global Warming
Gardeners will need to stay informed about climate change impacts and adapt their gardening practices accordingly. This may involve seeking out local gardening advice, attending workshops, and staying connected with gardening communities.
This is key to success. On this website I will endeavour to explore, advise and educate gardeners. I hope in return they post their experiences in the comments sections of each post. It is only by working tother. that we wil get through this.
Thoughts On How Gardeners Adapt To Global Warming
In summary, global warming will bring both opportunities and challenges to vegetable gardening in the UK. Adaptation and a proactive approach to changing conditions will be crucial for successful and sustainable gardening in the face of a changing climate.
In brief I believe we need to continue to carefully observe what works and what doesn’t. In my view that already means adopting natural systems such as No Dig where we can.
It also means growing more perennial veg as they are more resilient to climate, pests and diseases. They are already established in spring so “get away” as soon as they get longer days and a bit of warmth.
The problem with perennials is that they are there all the time so take up a lot of space. So we need to interplant them and grow shorter lived crops between them. And we need more catch cropping and interplanting.
A more natural system also means a more diverse mix of plants in beds. Let’s think about planting small groups of plants in blocks and mx them across beds, rather than putting all our brassicas or whatever in one bed. That is a huge mindset change for many gardeners. Many will not adapt to it quickly.
Water storage is going to become even more essential. So gather rainfall off of every roof you can and be prepared to store it. Where you cant store water we need crops that can cope without much water. And that means increasing soil organic matter. It also means increased use of swales and other natural means of retaining water on our land. This needn’t be hard. For example if you cant construct a swale, keep vegetation longer. A grassed area with a half inch of grass soon bakes hard and water runs off it. a couple inches of grass shades the soil and keeps it moister and capable of holding more water. It also roots deeper and is more resilient. Longer grass or woodchip on paths saves a lot of run off!
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